MORE than 70 swimmers, kayakers and boaters took to Port Meadow yesterday to protest against Thames Water leaking raw sewage into the river.

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The campaigners swam holding banners and chanting slogans such as ‘boaters not floaters’, ‘water voles not toilet rolls’ and ‘Thames Water cut the crap or you will take the rap.’

Oxford Mail:

It came as data from The River Trust revealed the water company’s sewage treatment works spilled raw sewage into the upper Thames, between Lechlade and Reading, more than 1,300 times in 2019, for 17,000 hours in total.

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Usually, sewage is treated to remove solid items and break down harmful contaminants. However, water companies can bypass this if there is no alternative to avoid flooding homes and relive pressure on the system.

Oxford Mail:

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We work hard to minimise storm discharges, while also looking at how we can improve the system for the future, including reducing groundwater infiltration and increasing capacity, for example at Witney Sewage Works.

"We’ve also invested heavily in monitoring equipment to understand how frequently spills occur and help us plan improvements.”