Raw sewage 'pumped into River Thames at beauty spot'

Raw sewage ‘pumped into River Thames at beauty spot popular with bathers’, say campaigners

  • Windrush Against Sewage Pollution claim raw sewage is pumped into Thames 
  • The campaigners monitored water quality at certain points of the English river  
  • They produced a video shot near Cassington treatment works in Oxfordshire 

Campaigners claim raw sewage is being pumped into the Thames at a beauty spot popular with bathers.

A group called Windrush Against Sewage Pollution monitored water quality at certain points of the river amid concerns water firms were not being overseen properly.

They produced a video shot on January 12 near Cassington treatment works in Oxfordshire – run by Thames Water – which is said to show small fish swimming through untreated sewage upstream of the Port Meadow wild swimming spot.

Campaigners claim raw sewage is being pumped into the Thames at a beauty spot popular with bathers (file photo used)

This week an analysis of industry data suggested water companies had illegally spilled sewage from treatment works into rivers at least 2,400 times in five years.

Thames Water says that the Cassington works has not discharged untreated sewage since March 2021, suggesting the muck seen in the video is unlikely to be sewage. 

However, that explanation is dismissed by the Windrush group, which says the flow – whether deliberate or a leak – appears to be partially untreated sewage.

A swan looking for food on the River Thames in Windsor earlier this month. Thames Water said that ‘an assessment of the watercourse on January 17 found the river area was in good health

Britain’s largely Victorian sewerage system cannot cope when there is too much rainwater, and so water companies can release rainwater, and some sewage, into rivers and the sea, to stop treatment works becoming overwhelmed.

Environmentalists say it is happening far too much.

Thames Water said that ‘an assessment of the watercourse on January 17 found the river area was in good health.

Any problem seems to be occurring in the long pipe that takes the treated effluent to the river. We are determined to understand what is coming out of the final effluent pipe.’

The Environment Agency said that it was speaking to the company about the video.

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