Sheffield pollution: More than 2,000 sewage 'incidents' recorded on River Don
and live on Freeview channel 276
The River Don was polluted by sewage for 13,301 hours in all, according to the Top of the Poops website, which collates data supplied annually by water companies to the Environment Agency. The number of sewage spills along the 114km-long river was up by 423 from the previous year, and the total hours of sewage pollution had increased by 3,106.
Despite the shocking figures, The Star reported only this month how salmon had returned to the river – which was once said to be effectively biologically dead, largely due to industrial pollution – for the first time in 200 years. Ed Shaw, managing director of the Don Catchment Rivers Trust, said at the time that the river was ‘no longer grossly polluted and is in fact full of life’.
Yorkshire Water pointed out that there are numerous factors contributing to pollution that aren’t controlled by water firms, including agricultural, industrial and road run-off. It also said that an ‘industry leading’ 97 per cent of its overflows are monitored, meaning its figures may be higher than others due to better recording.
A Yorkshire Water spokesperson said: “We completely understand the continued interest in the health of Yorkshire’s rivers, and we are working hard to reduce the frequency and duration of storm overflows across our region. Between 2020 and 2025 we’re investing almost £1bn to improve the region’s rivers, including the Don, indicating our continued commitment to improving water quality in Yorkshire.”
According to Top of the Poops, Yorkshire’s River Aire had the most sewage incidents recorded during 2021, with a whopping 4,085. Across England and Wales that year there at least 470,000 sewage spills, with raw or partially treated sewage being released into rivers, watersheds or the sea for a combined 3.4 million hours – the equivalent of 388 years.