Anything you find in the environment which shouldn’t be there, causing an impact on the surrounding area is defined as a pollution.  Lots of different types of pollution can affect our rivers from chemical spills and farming run-off to sewage and household waste. If you spot pollution and suspect it’s sewage we want to identify and investigate as quickly as possible.

The presence of sewage solids in the water, is a sign of a pollution but there may also be other indicators such as: 


  • sewage related debris (SRD) such as tissue paper, wipes, condoms and sanitary products
  • a noticeable odour of sewage.
  • soap suds, foam or milky looking fluids
  • oily film 
  • dead or gasping fish


What causes pollutions?

Over a third of pollutions are mainly caused by blocked pipes as they cause waste water to back up and overflow, coming back to the surface from underground sewers and drains. 80% of blockages are avoidable and we clear roughly 40,000 in the region a year, around one blockage every 15 minutes. 

Preventing pollution is a fundamental part of what we do.  We are commited to love every drop and protect our rivers and streams from any harm.


We work closely with the Environment Agency, as our regulator, to reduce the escape of sewage into the environment.  We’re committed to keeping our sewers clean and healthy by regularly maintaining pipes in the network and unblocking sewers and drains before an incident occurs.


Our commitment to reducing pollutions

While we work hard to make sure we operate effectively, we do appreciate that if something does go wrong and sewage escapes from the sewer system, we need to act fast to reduce the impact. 


‘Zero sewage pollution’ is one of our 12 ambitious business goals which guides us on our sustainability journey to Love Every Drop. We are committed to eliminating serious pollutions in our region by 2025, and to reducing the number of less significant pollutions by at least 45 per cent.

Together we can reduce the impact of pollution

When you are out and about and see pollution, please report it to us immediately.

There are lots of ways you can get in touch with us:


  • report an issue online
  • call us on 03457 145 145. We’re open 24 hours a day, every day of the year and calls are free from a BT landline.

If you are unsure which types of Pollutions to report on, we have listed them here.