Thames Water have been criticised by the River Chess Association and the public due to recent sewage discharges into the chalk stream.

The association posted on Facebook today (March 11) and said: "We are suffering from sewage discharges into the River Chess, this is due to heavy rain entering the sewage system and the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works being unable to treat the high volumes.

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"In addition as groundwater levels rise above the level of the sewer pipes where there is broken or damaged pipe groundwater will ingress.

"Sewer pipes unlike water pipes are not pressurised so groundwater flows in. When groundwater is extremely high it will also ingress into the sewage plant."

They then explain that this issue has been happening for years, such as in 2014 when discharges allegedly began in February and carried on until June.

They added: "We argue this is not covered under permitted storm discharges.

"Back in 2014 Thames Water were tasked with fixing this problem. Little has happened in the past 6 years and the problem looks like it is back.

"If the sewage system was working correctly today we would be seeing the river in its best state in 20 years. After 6 years of low flows this was a chance for the river to recover."

The River Chess Association was established 10 years to tackle the issue of sewage discharges and to raise awareness of what problems the river faces.

The Bucks Free Press reported just last month that Thames Water discharged storm flows for some hours as the association urged the public to avoid the site.

Many Facebook users are outraged at the announcement.

One user said: "Discharging raw sewerage into any river should be viewed as a criminal offence contrary to the UK environmental guidelines, and subject to huge penalties from the EA, but as usual a toothless tiger won’t hurt anyone.

"In Australia Water Companies are allowed to release treated water into the rivers, but raw sewerage is subject to huge penalties and potentially loss of their licence to supply."

One user simply commented: "Thames Water. Shame on you."

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Thames Water have responded to the post, they said: “The volume of sustained heavy rainfall recently means some heavily diluted wastewater is allowed to overflow into the river system.

"This is in order to prevent flooding to people’s homes, and once all storage capacity at our works is filled.

“Of course this is undesirable, but we only do so when there is no other alternative. It is the way the system is designed to operate and is permitted by the Environment Agency under these circumstances."