The Daily Telegraph

Sixth of swimming days ‘are ruined by sewage pollution’

- By Olivia Rudgard ENVIRONMEN­T CORRESPOND­ENT

SEWAGE discharged into coastal waters ruins one in six swimming days at Britain’s beaches, data show.

Surfers Against Sewage found that water companies dumped untreated sewage in seas and waterways 5,517 times in the year to September, an 88 per cent rise on last year’s 2,941.

During the bathing season – May 15 to Sept 30 – 16 per cent of swimming days were rendered unsafe, the charity said.

Some 3,328 sewer overflow discharge notificati­ons were issued in the summer bathing season, up on 2020’s 1,195. Some of the increase is due to more data being provided by water firms.

Untreated sewage from dated waste systems is discharged into rivers and seas when they get full because of rain. It is supposed to happen in exceptiona­l circumstan­ces but has become routine.

The group said sewage is regularly being dumped outside periods of heavy rain. Six of eight rivers over the summer were also regularly contaminat­ed with dangerous levels of e-coli, it said.

Hugo Tagholm, of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “You shouldn’t really go in sewage polluted water for up to 48 hours after a sewage event.” A clause in the recently-passed Environmen­t Act placed a “duty” on water companies to reduce the impact of the discharges.

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