SEWAGE was discharged into Forest waterways for more than 8,000 hours combined last year.

And while that is down from the year before, national river organisation The Rivers Trust says more monitoring is needed before they can tell if the situation is getting better or worse.

The trust has this month updated its Sewage Map of the UK for 2023, which details the discharges of raw, untreated sewage into waterways by water companies.

In the Forest area, 35 of 48 storm overflows monitored are managed by Severn Trent, while the other 13 are in south Herefordshire and Monmouthshire and are managed by Welsh Water.

In all, 1,209 spills were counted for a total of 8,429 hours in the district in 2022.

While the numbers are high, they are down from the year before, with 1,727 spills counted for a duration of 14,987 hours in 2021.

The data comes from the UK Government, which collects it through Event Duration Monitoring (EDM) using water level sensors at designated points in the sewer network.

It does not include all the discharges, however, as only 89 per cent of known sewer overflows are monitored.

The Rivers Trust says its not yet possible to judge the situation by year-on-year comparisons, as monitoring has increased every year since the data was published.

But it says that by next year, monitoring should be close to 100 per cent because of a pledge from water companies, and it will then be possible to tell if the situation is getting better or worse.

More specifically, sewage was discharged into the Severn Estuary at Lydney Treatment Works 138 times for a total of 915.3 hours.

In Blakeney, sewage was discharged 135 times for a total of 1411.54 hours.

The reasons given by the water companies as to why range from hydraulic capacity issues to “ongoing investigation”.

Further sites where discharges into the Severn were frequent were at Newnham and Frampton-on-Severn in Stroud.

On the Wye, the storm overflow at St Briavels spilled 90 times for a total of 524.25 hours. 

Other notable discharges locally were at Ross, Monmouth, Tintern and Chepstow.

The full map can be found here.

The Rivers Trust is calling on water companies to publish live spill data so that the public can stay informed about the situation locally.

It is also demanding that governments act more urgently to tackle the issue, and aims to increase the pressure by raising public awareness.