The boss of Yorkshire Water has finally apologised for the raw sewage that keeps overflowing into the rivers and streets of York and across the region.
YorkMix has repeatedly reported sewage being dumped into the River Ouse in York city centre. And in January we carried pictures of an overflow across King Street and onto King’s Staith.
Now the chief executive of Yorkshire Water has said: “I’m sorry.”
In a letter to customers Nicola Shaw wrote: “There has been a huge amount of criticism of, and anger at, the water industry over recent months.
“I get why people are angry – seeing sewage in our rivers and seas isn’t right.
“We should have a system that befits the 21st Century. So, on behalf of Yorkshire Water, I am sorry.”
She said the company would invest £180m in reducing sewage leaks from storm overflows.
It comes as national body Water UK said today plans for the largest ever investment in sewage networks will cut overflows by up to 140,000 each year by 2030, compared to the level in 2020.
Environment Agency figures show there were 301,091 sewage spills in 2022, an average of 824 a day.
Ruth Kelly, chair of Water UK, said: “The message from the water and sewage industry today is clear – we are sorry.
“More should have been done to address the issue of spillages sooner and the public is right to be upset about the current quality of our rivers and beaches.
“We have listened and have an unprecedented plan to start to put it right. This problem cannot be fixed overnight, but we are determined to do everything we can to transform our rivers and seas in the way we all want to see.”
The organisation said “£10 billion – more than triple current levels” is ready to be invested, “enabling the biggest modernisation of sewers since the Victorian era, and the most ambitious programme on sewage spills in the world”.
However, the costs will be recouped from customers through unspecified increases in their bills determined by regulator Ofwat. That could add further pressure to spiralling household costs.