Pollution and water quality

Sewage discharges

The current levels of storm overflow discharges into rivers cannot continue, and the water sector must tackle this. Customers and the public rightly expect water companies to take this role extremely seriously, and there has been widespread, understandable frustration and anger.

A lot of our work is aimed at supporting, pushing and challenging companies to make sure that the water sector’s impact on our rivers becomes a positive one. Water companies must take action now to secure long-term improvements in river water quality and rebuild public trust.

An infographic showing how Ofwat is taking action , working with others - including water companies, and driving investment.

Learn more about our investigation into reports of unpermitted sewage discharges into the environment, announced in November 2021 alongside the Environment Agency.

Read more about storm overflows and why they are used.

Read more about the part of the water treatment process we are investigating, called Flow to Full Treatment (FFT).