Sewage flowing into Amersham’s River Misbourne in the current dry weather is due to ‘high groundwater’, Thames Water has said.

A discharge from the water firm’s storm tanks in the area lasted for 3,700 hours after it began on January 25 and stopped on Thursday.

Thames Water was asked why sewer water was being released into the Misbourne during the recent spell of dry weather in which temperatures have soared as high as 29°C.

A spokesperson said: “Our region has experienced the eighth wettest winter on record, resulting in exceptionally high groundwater and river levels.

“This groundwater and river floodwater then entered our sewers and filled the Amersham storm tanks, meaning they are full and are discharging diluted wastewater into the river Misbourne, for which we are sorry.”

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The live data from Thames Water’s ‘storm overflow’ system shows that there ‘could be sewage’ in this section of the Misbourne.

When rainwater enters the sewer system, storm overflows act as ‘safety valves’ by discharging sewer water into the watercourse to stop it flooding into people’s homes and gardens.

However, utility firms, including Thames Water have been criticised for discharging into rivers during dry spells as well as in wet weather.

The spokesperson said: “We’ve put transparency at the heart of what we do, and we were the first water company to publish a real time data map.”

Thames Water said it expects its Amersham site to meet all government targets for storm overflows by 2040 – 2045.

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