Illegal sewage dumping by water firms widespread and frequent, investigation reveals

Water companies have been discharging untreated wastewater into rivers in breach of their permits on a regular basis, it was revealed in a BBC Panorama investigation that aired last night.

The firms are only allowed to discharge raw sewage into rivers and seas if there has been exceptionally heavy rain and only if the company in question has already treated a specified volume of water, but the Panorama team found that many were discharging frequently and for long periods of time without any of these conditions being met.

Of 10 companies investigated by Panorama, seven had treatment works that were breaching their permits. Welsh Water was found to be one of the worst offenders with its Aberbaiden plant illegally dumping sewage into the protected river Usk for 12 consecutive days in December.

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