In My Area

Reporting river pollution

Very occasionally, wastewater from drains and sewers can end up in rivers, streams and other watercourses. If this happens, we need to investigate, fix any problem that might be causing it and report it to the Environment Agency.

Reports from the public can help us find and fix problems quickly. 

What to look out for

If you notice any of the following near a river, stream or waterway, it’s possible it’s been caused by a blocked drain. 

Wet wipes, sanitary products and toilet paper

Human waste and sewage

Soap suds or a milky-looking discharge

Noticeable sewage smells

Oil residue

Traces of petrol or diesel

Dead or gasping fish

This could lead to water pollution if not reported and dealt with. 

Call us immediately if you notice possible pollutions

If you notice pollution, you should call us immediately on 0800 784 4444 and tell us:

  • what you saw and when
  • where you saw it
  • whether sewage is entering a river or any other watercourse

Please use a postcode, road name, What Three Words location or a local landmark to let us know where you've seen the pollution.

Causes of water pollution

Blocked drains are one of the most common causes of river pollution. 

The blockages can cause waste water to back up and even overflow, coming back to the surface from underground sewers and drains.

Keeping drains clear can help to avoid sewage getting into watercourses.

Why it's important to report pollution

River pollution is damaging to the environment, plants, animal life and human health. 

Rivers play a crucial role as drinking water for animals and income via fishing and aquaculture for people. 

A polluted river will have depleted stocks of fish, crustaceans and other aquatic life which some economies rely on.

We’ll fix any problems causing pollutions and report it to the Environment Agency

If the pollution has been caused by a problem on our network, we’ll get it fixed as soon as possible.

We report all known pollution incidents to the Environment Agency.