We work hard to make sure all our assets work as they should, but sometimes things can go wrong. Our aim is to continue to reduce all pollutions associated with our assets. This includes from our wastewater and water assets in our Northumbrian Water operating area, and for water only assets in Essex & Suffolk. 

We’re maintaining industry leading levels of wastewater pollutions through our transformative pollution management programme and Pollution Incident Reduction Plan (PIRP), which outline what we’ll do to reduce the risk of these incidents and what we’ll do if an incident occurs. 


For water related pollutions, we continue to work hard to reduce pollutions, including serious incidents, through new interventions, improved processes, and procedures. 


We’re committed to being as ethical, open, and honest as we can with our customers, and we’ve published our plan for reducing pollutions from 2020-25 to help us meet our ambitious goal to have zero pollutions as a result of our assets and operations. We’ve developed a culture focused on all aspects of pollution risk, and this approach has resulted in a real transformation in our pollution performance. 


Since 2017, we’ve been at the frontier with industry-leading performance on pollution. In 2018 and 2020, we received a four-star rating in the Environment Agency’s Environmental Performance Assessment. In 2019 our pollution performance remained leading, but we were disappointed in our two-star rating, which was due to a compliance issue. 


We’re focused on continuously improving our performance across our water and wastewater networks and assets, including 25,000km of water mains, 55 water treatment works, 30,000km of sewers, 1,250 storm overflows, 1,000 sewage pumping stations and 430 sewage treatment works. 


Richard Warneford, Wastewater Director, said, “It’s vital we protect the environment that provides us with the material we use to supply clean, clear and great tasting drinking water. We must return it back to the environment in the best possible condition. 


“We have many assets - both in water and wastewater - and it’s essential that we maintain and operate them in a way that minimises any negative impact on the environment. 


“Our customers have told us that looking after the environment is very important to them and something they expect from us. Through our PIRP, we show our commitment and provide details on how we’re minimising risks and how we’ll put things right if something does go wrong.”