South West Water Spilled Sewage for 530,737 Hours in 2023

According to an Environment Agency press release this morning:

The Environment Agency has published its Event Duration Monitoring (EDM) data for 2023 showing the frequency and duration of spills from storm overflows in England.   

Storm overflow spills are measured by event duration monitors and 100% of storm overflows across the water network are now fitted with these, meeting the target set by the government to do so by the end of 2023. With just 7% of storm overflows fitted with a monitor in 2010, England is now a world leader in the number of storm overflows monitored.  

Event Duration Monitoring data was returned from 14,318 storm overflows during the calendar year of 2023, up from 13,313 in 2022 and 12,092 in 2020. It is important to note that the increased installation of monitors over this period makes any direct comparisons of spill data over time very difficult. 

The data for 2023 shows a 54% increase in the number of sewage spills compared to 2022, and a 13% increase compared to 2020. The increase in spills compared to 2022 is partly because 2023 was named by the Met Office as the 6th wettest year since its records began in 1836.

The Environment Agency also announced that:

For the first time, the data is presented in an interactive data portal, making it more accessible to members of the public.

Here is a summary of South West Water’s contribution to the English total:

Total Spills: 58,249

Total Hours Spilt: 530,737

Average Spills per Overflow: 43

Here is a graphic representation of that data:

Here’s the data for our local sewage treatment works:

and here is the data for our nearest surfing beach at Widemouth Bay:

The EA press release concludes:

It was announced earlier this year that, subject to consultation, EA water company inspections will rise to 4,000 a year by the end of March 2025 and then to more than 10,000 from April 2025. This will include an increase in unannounced inspections – strengthening oversight of water companies and providing greater assurance alongside operator self-monitoring. 

Do you feel reassured?

Jim Hunt

I've been programming computers since the late 60s. In those days they didn't have computers in schools, so we had to build our own. What can I program next? Will I have to build it first?

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