RESIDENTS in Dursley have welcomed government plans which could help to tackle sewage pollution in one of the town’s streams.

Concerns have been raised over a number of years about sewage being released into the stream at Water Street during heavy rain.

One resident, who has been looking into this for the past three years, said he has been reporting between nine and 11 pollution incidents a year to the Severn Trent water company.

Dursley councillors Peter Hayes (town) and Loraine Patrick (town and county) have also been looking into this.

Cllr Hayes explained: “During heavy rain the sewer pressure lifts the manhole covers, resulting in the flowing of sewage into the steam.

“Many people have highlighted this over the years, yet nothing physical has been done.”

Severn Trent said that they had investigated and were unable to find any issues with their network.

A firm spokesman said: “Our teams have recently been out to look at the stream flowing through Dursley, following reports of pollution in the area.

“After carrying out a full investigation, we didn’t find any issues on our network, and everything was working as it should be.

“We’d encourage customers to contact us straight away if they see anything that doesn’t look right and we’ll come back out to do more tests.”

However, Cllr Loraine Patrick said she has since been liaising with Severn Trent on the matter and that progress is being made.

And now the government’s environment minister, Rebecca Pow, has promised to bring in legislation to reduce the discharge of raw sewage into rivers.

The minister said that she would be placing a legal duty on the government to come up with a plan to cut dumping by water companies by September 2022.

Storm overflows date back to the Victorian era and were designed to be used during extreme weather to prevent sewers becoming overloaded with a combination of sewage and rainwater, releasing diluted wastewater into rivers rather than letting it back up into people’s homes.

Cutting back the reliance of water companies on storm overflows is key in helping to cut pollution in waterways.

Stroud District MP Siobhan Baillie said: “I am pleased to see this commitment to tackle river pollution has been made as so many Stroud district constituents wrote to me about this.

“This commitment also builds on the work of the Storm Overflows Taskforce and should mean we have a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows.

“The government has indicated it wants to consult on potential options to tackle the issue and I urge everyone to get involved, but I also urge ministers to ensure action is taken sooner rather than later.

“This is a serious and complex issue that will require a broad approach from the government, the water companies, the construction industry, the Environment Agency and planners. However, one element is absolutely clear: this pollution is doing a great deal of harm to our environment and we cannot delay.”