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Water: Pollution

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL3964, tabled on 10 November 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish a table showing the harmful substances released by each water company into rivers and seas.

Answered on

24 November 2021

In terms of releases to water, the relevant regulatory processes refer to hazardous substances rather than harmful substances; any substance could potentially be harmful. Within the context of this question, substances has been taken to mean chemicals.

The Environment Agency (EA) reports against a range of measures which assess hazardous substances in the water environment. Chemical classification is based on environmental data rather than the monitoring of discharges. The EA has recently published its report on ‘Regulating for people, the environment and growth’ which can be found here, which references some emissions information for different media including water.

The Environment Agency has worked with the water industry on a programme of research into chemicals in discharges from wastewater, including research into technologies that can provide treatment for chemicals. More information on the Chemicals Investigation Programme can be found here with data from the programme so far published and available here. Phase 2 of the programme concluded in 2020 following investment of £140 million and Phase 3 is currently underway. Phase 3 outputs will made available when completed.