Sewage discharged into the Thames five times within a week

Image above: Sewage in the Thames; library photograph from earlier this year

Heavy rain leads to more storm drain overflows

Heavy rain over recent days has seen Thames Water discharge huge quantities of sewage with storm water into the River Thames.

A total of five alerts have been issued by Mogden Sewage Treatment Works and Hammersmith Pumping Station in less than a week, between Wednesday (2 November) and Monday (7 November), as both sites were overwhelmed by storm water. The fifth and most recent alert was issued today at 2.13pm (7 November) from Mogden.

The discharge alerts were issued by Thames CSO Alerts, which releases information on Thames Tideway combined sewer overflow discharges as notified by Thames Water. Thames Water manage both sewage treatment plants and are responsible for sewage discharges.

Mogden discharges water into the Duke of Northumberland stream which, in turn, flows into the Thames. The lower Duke of Northumberland’s River flows for 4km from Kneller Gardens in Twickenham to the Thames in Isleworth. Hammersmith pumping Station discharges water directly into the Thames, near Hammersmith Bridge.

Earlier this year, the Environment Agency revealed it was investigating discharges of more than two billion litres of raw sewage from Mogden into surrounding waterways. A parliamentary select committee heard that the equivalent of 800 Olympic-sized swimming pools of raw sewage was released across 48 hours in October 2020.

READ ALSO: Raw sewage in the Thames is ‘unacceptable’

READ ALSO: Equivalent of 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools of sewage spilled into Thames on each of two days


Image above: Mogden Sewage Treatment Works

Residents condemn discharges

Residents condemned the discharges, saying the government has been allowing water companies to get away with sewage discharges that, in the past, would have been illegal.

Gemma Bristow posted on social media:

“It rains a lot in this country. Please invest your extensive profits in dealing with the weather more appropriately.”

Ben Welsh wrote:

“The Thames will stink of sewage – thanks for killing our river @thameswater

Theo Thomas, Chief Executive of the London Waterkeeper charity, a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance – a global federation fighting for fishable, drinkable and swimmable water – is campaigning for better information about the amount of sewage which is dumpted in the river.

He wants Thames Water to give real-time overflow alerts so river users are warned of discharges rather than hearing about them after the effect, which they have said they will do next year.

His aim is to keep a check on those responsible for water quality.

“Thames Water has committed to putting real-time overflow alerts online from the start of 2023. When that happens it will be easier to determine if the monitor [on overflow drains] is working properly or in the right location.”

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