CHESTER'S MP is demanding an improved sewage system in Chester after it emerged waste water was allowed to flow into the River Dee four times in 2017.

The Standard reported in September last year that raw sewage has been filmed running from an overflow pipe just yards from the city's rowing clubs at The Groves.

However, Welsh Water stressed that the process was entirely legal and they had permission from the Environment Agency to release “diluted wastewater” into the river after heavy rain to prevent homes from flooding.

Chester MP Chris Matheson has expressed his outrage at the situation saying sewer discharges at The Groves are “unacceptable and need to be phased out”.

He said: “People in Chester who follow local social media activity will recall images and video from September, which showed sanitary products, excrement and detritus floating in the river.

“It turns out that this discharge was undertaken by Welsh Water, with the permission of the Environment Agency.”

Chester operates a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system, which collects rainwater and sewage together, he said.

At times of high capacity, overflows like the one at The Groves are used to release pressure in the system.

By 2020, Welsh Water will be required to have installed an Event Duration Monitor at The Groves site to provide an annual report on the number and duration of these discharges.

In a letter to Mr Matheson in January, the Environment Agency confirmed that overflow sewerage had been pumped into the Dee at The Groves at least four times in 2017.

The MP added: “Where is the government’s strategy for dealing with privatised water companies who are dumping sewage into our nations network of freshwater rivers?

“In a letter to me this week, the Environment Agency suggested that there would be a significant cost to upgrading Chester’s sewage system in order to solve this problem – but as I pointed out to them in an earlier letter, I thought the argument for privatisation of utility services was that these companies would be able to raise money on the capital markets to fund infrastructure improvements – this hasn’t happened, so it would seem that such plans have basically gone down the toilet.

“The Environment Agency seems to think that pumping this raw sewage into the Dee is acceptable, I don’t believe it is. The water companies can pay up for new sewers or else.”