A group of paddleboarders were left shocked after reportedly being met with “clumps” of sewage whilst out on the River Thames.

Heading towards Spade Oak from Bourne End, the stand-up paddleboarders first thought there was foam floating in the water but getting closer could smell it was waste.

One member of the local fitness group Fitworks out on the water was Sarah Webber who described it as “horrific”.

Sarah said it took up an area around 30 metres in length on the opposite side of the river from the Coldmoorholme Lane entrance.

Concerns were also raised around the dangers of sewage water to wildlife with Sarah seeing ducks eat the waste.

She also believes that houseboat owners in the area shouldn’t expect to have sewage waste emptied nearby.

She said: “At first you think it is something natural. It’s still a river, it is going to have dirt in it.

“People do get over the top about it being filthy and you have to be prepared to experience a bit of dirt but I didn’t want to stand-up paddleboard through it.

“We turned around and went back.

“It is just awful that it is what you end up expecting when you live downstream of sewage.

“You shouldn’t have to put up with that.”

Sarah believes that if the sewage was released into the river then a warning should be made.

She continued: “It's common knowledge that it can overflow in the winter because of the storms and pressures of water drainage into the sewerage.

“In the middle of summer, the river wasn’t even moving it was so slow and calm. It was hot too, it was already 16 degrees at 6am.

“I can’t understand why that would have needed to come out.

“There should be some sort of warning, if that is something that happens and we all have to put up with it.

"There needs to be some sort of communication and acceptance.”

A Thames Water spokesperson said: "We’ve shared the information with our waste operations team in the area to look into and help determine where this has come from.

"We regard all discharges of untreated sewage as unacceptable and will work with the government, Ofwat and the Environment Agency to accelerate work to stop them being necessary and are determined to be transparent.

"We recently launched our river health commitments which include a 50% reduction in the total annual duration of spills across London and the Thames Valley by 2030, and within that an 80% reduction in sensitive catchments.  

"We have started the £100 million upgrade of our Mogden sewage treatment works and are currently increasing sewage treatment capacity at a number of our other sewage works across the Thames Valley, including Witney and Fairford to be completed by 2025.

"Here is further information on how pollutions can be reported to us: https://www.thameswater.co.uk/help/emergencies/pollution"