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Pollution reports fast-tracked to help protect rivers

Monday 5th July 2021 10:31

Thames Water has fast-tracked the process for reporting a pollution as part of its commitment to keeping rivers clean and healthy

Thames Water has fast-tracked the process for reporting a pollution as part of its commitment to keeping rivers clean and healthy

Customers reporting a pollution are now fast-tracked through Thames Water’s call centre as part of its commitment to keeping rivers clean and healthy.

Changes to the company’s telephone and online channels have helped reduce the amount of time it takes to investigate pollution incidents when they happen. There is also now a dedicated ‘Report a pollution’ button on the homepage.

Once reported, a rapid response team will be at the scene within two hours to take swift action. This has been reduced in many cases to under 60 minutes since the upgrades last month.

Richard Aylard, Thames Water’s sustainability director, said: “Our aim will always be to try and do the right thing for our rivers and for the communities who love and value them, and we’re grateful to anyone who takes the initiative to tell us about a possible pollution. We have made it as quick and easy as possible for people to report something when they see it, because the sooner we can get to a problem the better.”

A pollution could be caused by an overflowing or blocked drain, or from a burst water pipe that washes a substance into a watercourse. All these types of occurrences can potentially pose serious short and long-term impacts to the environment.

Thames Water crews carry equipment in their vans to take immediate action and can call on specialist resources if needed. But reaction time is always the most important factor in avoiding or reducing damage to the environment.

Stuart Singleton-White, Angling Trust’s head of campaigns, said: “This initiative from Thames Water to simplify its pollution reporting and to commit to responding more quickly is a welcome step. It would be good to see all water companies following this lead, making it straightforward for people to report and ensuring swift action in response.

“Often time can be a crucial factor in turning a minor issue into a major one. It is why it is important for anglers and other river uses to report pollution as soon as they see it, not to wait a few hours or days. Too often, however, the frustration has been, that after reporting, nothing happens. It is good to see Thames Water seeking to tackle this.”

Thames Water reports all known incidents to the Environment Agency, including those which involve:

  • Sewage solids
  • Toilet debris such as toilet paper, condoms and sanitary products
  • Soap suds or a milky-looking discharge
  • Grey coloured water
  • Noticeable sewage smells

Visit www.thameswater.co.uk/help/emergencies/pollution for more information. Customers can call 0800 316 9800 and select option 2 or use webchat to report a pollution. A new webform, which will be like the company’s ‘Report a leak and blockage’ functions, is due to go live this summer.

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