317 Olympic pools of raw sewage pumped into River Nidd, study claims
May 28, 2023
View across the viaduct and River Nidd in Knaresborough
The River Nidd at Knaresborough

The equivalent of 317 Olympic pools of raw sewage were discharged into the River Nidd at four sewage treatment works in 2020, according to a study.

The sewage was released into the river at Pateley Bridge, Harrogate, Darley and Kirk Hammerton.

Professor Peter Hammond, a mathematician who analyses data on sewage discharges, conducted the research, according to an article in the Guardian.

It says Prof Hammond studied four of seven sewage treatment works on the Nidd so the amount of raw sewage pumped into the river could be significantly higher.

The study aimed to reveal the volume of discharged effluent released from storm overflows by water firms.

Water companies are currently required to reveal the number of discharges and how long they lasted — not the actual volume of raw sewage discharged.

Prof Hammond studied 30 treatment works in 2020 run by nine of England and Wales’ 10 water companies in England and Wales to calculate the volume of raw sewage discharged.

Four of those were on the Nidd, which is currently the subject of a clean-up campaign following reports of bathers falling ill last summer.

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones and the Nidd Action Group are leading the campaign to achieve designated bathing water status at Knaresborough Lido, which would oblige agencies to take action.

David Clayden, secretary of Harrogate Flyfishers’ Club and a member of the Nidd Action Group, told the Guardian he saw no reason water companies could not reveal the volume of raw sewage being discharged into rivers.

He said.

“It is extraordinary to see estimates of the volume being discharged. I am very disappointed that the government did not follow the recommendations of the environmental audit committee and make water companies fit volume monitors.”

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