Sewage spills from storm overflows up 54% in 2023, figures show

Sewage spills from storm overflows increased 54% in 2023 compared to the previous year, figures from the Environment Agency show.

The figures revealing the frequency and duration of spills from storm overflows, which dump untreated sewage into rivers and the sea, usually during heavy rainfall to stop sewers backing up, come amid high levels of public concern and anger over the state of England’s waterways and beaches.

They show that spills were up 54% last year, compared to 2022, partly because England had its sixth wettest year on record, and up 13% on 2020, which had comparable rainfall.