Water Industry News

Do We Need An Alternative To Our Sewage System?

There has been a great deal in the news in recent years about the increasing amount of raw sewage being pumped into rivers and the sea around England and Wales. There is clearly an issue with the country’s current water management system for so much overspill to be making its way into our waterways.


As the Guardian reports, this is the first time since 1990, when the charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) was first founded, that so much untreated raw sewage has been pumped directly into the sea and rivers.


Hugh Tagholm, chief executive at SAS, has even gone as far as to describe it as a “second wave of sewage pollution”, adding that the problem is far wider than just untreated faeces, with the substances making their way into our waterways including microplastics, chemicals and even antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


“All of our waterways are connected,” he told the news provider, “It’s one cycle: what goes into our rivers ends up in our ocean.”


The biggest issue is that the sewage system in the UK also has to handle all the runoff from roads during periods of heavy rain. There has been an increasing prevalence of storms bringing heavy rainfall in short periods, coupled with population growth, the expansion of urban areas and more non-porous surfaces.


All of this means that the ground struggles to absorb the rainfall, which results in this overflow, plus whatever else is in the sewer at the time, pouring out of storm drains.


The newspaper noted that countries such as China have been exploring the use of sustainable drainage systems known as SuDS, with incredibly positive results. For example, the country’s city Wuhan, which was once incredibly flood-prone, has now been named a “sponge city”.


SuDS involve creating wetlands, ponds and green ditches called swales, as well as fitting buildings with green roofs and rainwater harvesting systems, and replacing non absorbent surfaces with porous alternatives.


As well as capturing far more water from rainfall, these SuDS systems have the additional benefit of creating vast areas of parkland and green space that the residents of the city can enjoy.


Malmö in Sweden is another example where these kinds of systems have worked incredibly well. The Guardian noted that, since introducing something similar at the turn of the century, 90 per cent of the city’s stormwater is now absorbed by its wetlands, ditches and ponds.


As a business, you might be wondering what you can do, but one of the easiest steps you can take is to assess your premises and work out whether there is anything you can do to improve drainage and reduce the amount of rainwater entering the sewage system in the first place.


This could help in more ways than one. As well as doing your part to reduce the issues of overflowing sewage pipes, Ofwat notes that you may be entitled to a surface water drainage rebate if rainwater doesn’t drain from your property into a public sewer.


While you’re at it, you could also compare business water suppliers to make sure you’re not overpaying for the rest of your water bill. Get in touch with SwitchWaterSsupplier.com today to find out more.