Readers who swim in or sail and paddleboard on our rivers may not be aware that water companies are allowed to dump raw sewage. Last year they did so for 1.5million hours.

Locally, it is a big problem, endangering the health of humans and compromising wildlife habitats. Here are just some local examples from 2019. This is raw, untreated sewage:

n Dedham - sewer storm overflow spilled 25 times for a total of 441 hours, discharging into the Dedham Mill;

n Clacton - sewer storm overflow spilled 119 times for a total of 523 hours, discharging into the North Sea;

n River Colne sewer storm overflow spilled 342 times for a total of 7,248 hours, discharging into the River Colne;

n Tollesbury sewer storm overflow spilled 182 times for a total of 3,773 hours, discharging into the River Blackwater;

n Sudbury - sewer storm overflow spilled 366 times for a total of 8,760 hours, discharging into the tributary River Stour (possible data error).

The good news is Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, has published a Private Member’s Bill designed to tackle river pollution from untreated sewage and improve water quality.

Please consider taking just one minute to email your own MP and ask them to support this Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill, for the sake of our rivers and the sea they flow into.

Rosie Pearson