Pollution hotspots on roads around Sheffield are being tackled by engineers as part of a new system which stops sewage from escaping into streams and rivers.
Streets in Gleadless Valley, Base Green and Hemsworth are currently being visited by workers from Yorkshire Water, which has launched a new scheme which targets areas prone to pollution.
Analysts at the company have created a system which monitors the weather and sounds an alert when certain conditions – dry weather followed by heavy rain – create a risk of a sewage leak at a particular spot.
Engineers then visit the area before the downpours hit and use a water jet to clear potential blockages.
Dry weather reduces the water flow in sewers and increases the amount of waste deposited in pipes.
Then, when wet weather returns, the risk of a blockage followed by a sewage leak occurs.
Previously companies only dealt with pollution on a reactive basis, sending out teams after incidents had happened.
If the new ‘predictive’ method is successful, it could be applied to other problem scenarios such as flooding and bad smells.
James Harrison, Yorkshire Water’s technical sewerage manager, said: “Rather than being on the back foot, preventing the problem from occurring in the first place is a far more efficient way of working.
“We’re already starting to see the results, with numerous potential incidents being prevented.”
Sewage can have a harmful effect on wildlife and water quality when it escapes into streams, becks, rivers and the sea.
Yorkshire Water is spending £300 million over the next five years on a series of projects including refurbishing sewers and upgrading pumping stations.