At least 375,000 "sewage spills" into waterways in 2022, lasting 2,291,055 hours

A stylised map of England and Wales showing CSO locations
A Petri Dish for E.Coli

Here are all the CSOs in England and Wales that 'overflowed' in 2022 - dumping raw or minimally treated sewage into fragile chalk streams, rivers, onto beaches and into shellfish areas

Each colour represents a different Water Company, the size of each dot relates to how long each overflow was polluting

The figures, supplied by the water companies themselves, understate the problem, as the data is poorly collected by the Water Companies, with monitoring defective or in many cases completely absent. Many recordings of data don't seem to be associated with a valid permit, so it is impossible to know where they are.

Sewage everywhere

There is sewage overflowing into rivers in almost every constituency across England and Wales. A very few miss out, simply because they don’t have any Combined Sewage Overflows. CSOs mix toilet sewage with rainwater and then discharge it into rivers, creating a horrible environment for fish and other creatures - it poisons them, and the rivers die. You'll find all sorts of unsanitary sanitary products floating downstream.

Top of The Poops - Constituencies

1. Carmarthen East and Dinefwr 60,430 hours
2. Torridge and West Devon 57,494 hours
3. Dwyfor Meirionnydd 49,174 hours
4. Preseli Pembrokeshire 47,283 hours
5. Penrith and The Border 46,071 hours
6. Workington 43,807 hours
7. Ogmore 34,818 hours
8. Central Devon 33,921 hours
9. Ceredigion 33,267 hours
10. Brecon and Radnorshire 30,429 hours
Swimming in sewage

Most, if not actually all, of the beaches and designated coastal bathing locations around England and Wales are regular recipients of a good layer of sewage.

Accuracy Warning We use data from the water companies, but we are seeing many anomalies, that make us believe that bathing location information is quite poor. The situation is likely far worse than reported here.

Water companies have a duty to report on the summer bathing season separately, and this made grim reading in 2022. For more details check out Surfers Against Sewage Water Quality Report 2022

Top of The Poops - Beaches

1.United Utilities - New Brighton 7,056 hours
2.United Utilities - Allonby 6,754 hours
3.United Utilities - Morecambe North 5,348 hours
4.South West Water - PLYMOUTH HOE (EAST) 5,158 hours
5.United Utilities - St Annes 4,700 hours
6.United Utilities - Morecambe South 4,614 hours
7.United Utilities - Seascale 4,545 hours
8.United Utilities - Southport, St Annes Pier, St. Annes North and Blackpool South 3,671 hours
9.Southern Water - COWES, GURNARD 3,161 hours
10.South West Water - MOTHECOMBE BEACH 2,884 hours
Rivers & Streams

Of the 4700 rivers in England, few escape from sewage dumping

On the image, you can see a map, in blue of all the rivers that escaped sewage in 2022, and in brown all the rivers that received more than 24 hours of sewage dumps.

The 1100 or so rivers in Wales didn't escape, unfortunately, but Dwr Cymru don't include the information in their reports to enable us to draw the map very easily. Perhaps they will include it in 2022?

Top of The Poops - Rivers

1.South West Water - Unknown 19,395 hours
2.Yorkshire Water - River Calder 18,079 hours
3.Severn Trent Water - River Severn 17,495 hours
4.Dwr Cymru Welsh Water - River Garw 16,134 hours
5.South West Water - River Tamar 15,546 hours
6.Dwr Cymru Welsh Water - River Teifi 14,079 hours
7.Dwr Cymru Welsh Water - River Tawe 13,981 hours
8.Yorkshire Water - River Aire 13,810 hours
9.United Utilities - River Irwell 12,939 hours
10.United Utilities - River Eden 11,780 hours
A map of England and Wales showing major rivers
Sewage in the food chain?

Shellfish are sensitive to the quality of water that surrounds them, and as they filter the water, they can become contaminated with bacteria from the water around them.

Top of The Poops - Shellfish

1.South West Water - Teign 10,838 hours
2.South West Water - Fal Estuary 9,245 hours
3.United Utilities - NORTH WIRRAL (EAST) 8,665 hours
4.United Utilities - MORECAMBE BAY EAST 8,528 hours
5.South West Water - Exe 6,411 hours
6.South West Water - Dart 6,123 hours
7.United Utilities - MORECAMBE BAY (LEVEN) 5,529 hours
8.United Utilities - RIBBLE 5,155 hours
9.United Utilities - Morecambe Bay East and Lune (Broadfleet and Plover Scar) 5,104 hours
10.United Utilities - Solway 4,604 hours

Top of the Poops in the Media

Article image for The Times
The Times

Bosses of polluting water companies face ban on bonuses

Feb 11, 2024

Article image for The Times
The Times

Clean It Up campaign one year on: what progress has been made?

Feb 11, 2024

Article image for Verso

Talking shit

Sep 26, 2023

Article image for Dorset Eye
Dorset Eye

Wimborne’s First Ever Human Poo Chain - Dorset Eye

Sep 4, 2023

Article image for Thames21

Combined sewer overflows, explained - Thames21

Aug 9, 2023

Article image for the Guardian
the Guardian

Yorkshire Water ad ridiculed over clips of Herefordshire and Russian bar

Jul 26, 2023

Article image for Yorkshire Bylines
Yorkshire Bylines

Profits over pollution: why Britain is losing its battle to save its rivers

May 30, 2023

Article image for Bradford District Green Party
Bradford District Green Party

Yorkshire Water should be apologising for higher bills

May 30, 2023

Data Sources & Accuracy

EDM (Event Duration Monitoring) data and Consented Discharges to Controlled Waters with Conditions from Environment Agency & Data Map Wales

Experimental derived data from Thames Water API, Some data may be missing or inaccurate. This uses Environment Agency rainfall data from the real-time data API (Beta) - Rainfall data is delayed by up to two days.

This website is intended to provide an accurate representation of the Environment Agency data. The data is hard to use, and thus some errors may have been made. If you find something that is incorrect, please raise an issue at the GitHub issues page and we'll endeavour to fix it quickly.

This project is not associated, approved or endorsed by any of the companies whose logos you see here.