Sewage outflow pipe discharges add up to 10,653 hours in a year
Figures released by the Rivers Trust show there were almost 1,760 instances of treated sewage or untreated waste combined with rain water at more than 50 locations across the borough — amounting to a total of 10,653 hours.
The two worst spots affected the same tiny watercourse, Hooton Brook, with 118 overflows or discharges at Ravenfield Sewage Treatment Works totalling 630 hours, and 110 at Hooton Roberts’ own small plant for a total of 1,045 hours.
The amount also includes 430 hours at Aldwarke, 470 hours at Anston and 687 hours at Dinnington.
A single sewage works just outside Wentworth village was responsible for 214 instances in the past two years amounting to more than 2,600 hours in total.
The Rivers Trust said its map showed “where the sewerage network discharges treated sewage and overflows of untreated sewage and storm water into rivers”.
The figures for many locations were even higher the year before, with 2,698 discharges and overflows totalling 20,265 hours.
Yorkshire Water and Severn Trent Water, who are responsible between them for channelling and processing all Rotherham’s water, both pointed to improvements on the way in the coming months.
Yorkshire Water boss Nicola Shaw apologised for the level of sewage outflow across their network, while Water UK, the national overseeing body, also said sorry but added that the £10 billion of improvements needed to upgrade the network would be covered by increasing bills.
And while Yorkshire Water pledged to spend £180 million on improvements in the next two years, the firm admitted it had no plans to tackle the ongoing issues at Hooton Roberts or Ravenfield — responsible for 13 per cent of all Rotherham instances between them — until at least 2025.
Rotherham Climate Action said it was “unacceptable” sewage was being discharged into rivers, while Advertiser angling correspondent Martin Read said the scale of the issue wouldn’t be clear until there was more knowledge of what material was actually being released.
The Rivers Trust said it used data from the water firms to map out all incidents of overflows from storm sewers, which direct treated and untreated water into rivers and streams when the sewer system is unable to cope, especially during heavy rain.
Watercourses affected in Rotherham range from the tiny — Harley Dike at Harley village suffered 43 incidents covering more than 170 hours — to major waterways like the Rivers Don and Rother, with the Don suffering discharges at 11 different locations in the borough.
There were also dozens of discharges from water treatment works at Dinnington, Blackburn Meadows, Letwell, Aldwarke and Braithwell, among others.
The Rivers Trust is calling for all overflows to be monitored — as there is not currently total coverage — while Labour is demanding tough fines for polluting suppliers and more comprehensive monitoring to come into force quicker than planned under government proposals.
You can see the map at theriverstrust.org/sewage-map.