RAW sewage was pumped into Barnsley’s rivers for ‘thousands’ of hours last year, shocking new figures have revealed.
The statistics, released by the Environment Agency, revealed the shocking amount of raw sewage released into rivers across the borough in 2022.
Yorkshire Water release sewage when there is too much demand on their treatment works during rainy periods.
The latest data, revealed by the Environment Agency on Friday, was taken from monitoring stations installed at combined sewer overflows or CSOs.
Contained within the untreated effluent is human waste, wet wipes and sanitary products, which pose a serious risk to the local wildlife, swimmers and others who use UK waterways.
One of the worst-hit areas of Barnsley was Darfield.
The figures reveal that in 2022, two sewer storm overflows linked to water treatment plants between Darfield and Broomhill spilled a total of 94 times for a total of 1,138 hours - or about 40 days non-stop.
Coun Trevor Smith, who represents Darfield, slammed Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency for their role.
He added: “The volume of sewage being discharged into the Dearne is unacceptable.
“Our local rivers are the lifeblood of our local ecosystem, yet for decades privatised water companies have been allowed to mistreat them and get away with it.
“I call on the Environment Agency to make sure Yorkshire Water clean up their act.”
Other areas such as Darton and Lundwood - two of the town’s worst affected areas in regards to flooding - also have shocking figures.
In Darton, raw sewage was released for a total of 27 days non-stop, with more than 50 incidents in total.
Whilst in Lundwood, incidents occurred for a total of 35 days in total in three different areas.
Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central, told the Chronicle the government need to implement ‘tough and better’ rules to stop incidents like this occurring.
He added: “It’s a damning indictment of this government that they are allowing and defending, a system that sees raw sewage literally being pumped into our waterways.
“Barnsley is a brilliant place to live, work and raise a family and shouldn’t be treated as an open sewer.
“In this day and age, local people should be able to enjoy the place where they live without having to worrying about encountering filthy raw sewage.
“These are problems which should have long been consigned to the history books.
“What makes matters worse is that water companies are using water bill payers to service their debts and reward their shareholders.
“This is money that should be used to upgrade our water infrastructure, not pay for bonuses.
“We need tough new rules and better regulation to ensure sewage stays out of our waterways.”