Following a rise in sewage being dumped and getting into the rivers of London including the River Brent in Ealing, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is calling on Thames Water to “get a grip” on the situation and “fulfil its obligations on environment including cleaning up our rivers and tackle pollution discharges”.
Recently released data from The Mayor has revealed that between April 2023 and December 2023, Thames Water released sewage into London’s waterways for 6,590 hours, 11 minutes and 54 seconds – a five-fold increase on the same period the previous year. In just six days alone, during the period 25 December 2023 and 31 December 2023, sewage was dumped for 128 hours and 12 minutes.
Writing to new Thames Water CEO Chris Weston, the Mayor urged Mr Weston to take action and deal with the problem which has been ongoing for decades. He has also called on the government to be much firmer with water companies who allow sewage to remain in rivers including Ealing’s River Brent.
The Mayor of London said: “London’s rivers are the arteries of our city. Frankly the current state of some of our rivers is appalling and only getting worse. Thames Water urgently need to up their up their game, and get a grip of the situation. At the same time, ministers are standing by and letting more and more dirty sewage flow into our rivers. We need tougher legislation that forces water companies to act as a matter of urgency.
“While we’re making huge progress cleaning up London’s air and much of the capital’s environment, it’s a scandal that levels of sewage in our rivers are increasing at the same time.”
Across Ealing, there has also been constant issues of pollution of local rivers and campaigners have also challenged Thames Water, the Government and Ealing Council to take action.
Local campaigning group Clean Up The River Brent (CURB) has been monitoring the situation on a regular basis. In September 2022 they launched a “Save the eels of Ealing!” campaign having noticed unusual smells and debris in the river which was impacting species in the river but smells and debris has been continuing.
Ben Morris, founder of local campaign group (CURB), told EALING.NEWS at the time: “Having noticed sewage fungus – horrible grey slimey tendrils on the riverbed – on Thursday in Hanwell last week, then on Sunday at Pitshanger, I finally had a moment to check upstream on Monday, and found two discharging outfalls in Alperton, just downstream from previous incidents in Sept 22 and Oct 21, so probably from related source.”
Campaigners also asked for Ealing Council to investigate the situation. They claimed the issue at Brent Lodge was known for years.
Mr Morris said: “Council could and should be taking action”.
Mr Morris added: “Quite likely food waste, again. Very bad for river water. Then on same day I got tip off from Hanwell Bridge of brown cloudy water, and I was able to identify the same outfall in Brent Lodge Park which has been reported so many times, discharging brown waste. Sadly no surprise. Thames Water were alerted to the first incident. Finally another correspondent photographed brown cloudy water by Bitterns Field, source unknown. This was truly a very bad day on the Brent.”
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Ealing Green Party chair Neil Reynolds said: “Local groups, such as CURB, have done fantastic work in identifying the sources of pollution to the river Brent. It is welcome their concerns are finally being heard, the real test will be if any action is taken however.”