Scottish Water Sewage Spill Map

What Causes the Sewage Spills?

The Scottish Water sewage spills shown on this map are for the most part “storm overflows”. Scotland is not alone in this problem, and in England things are even worse. Wales also has similar problems with sewage spills. 

To understand a storm overflow, we have to first realize that sewage works do not only have to treat sewage. They also have to treat large volume of rain water, every time it rains.

The rain water become mixed with dirty sewage, and when it rains heavily then the sewage works can’t cope with the volume of water to be treated, and the sewage works overflows.

What does this data Show?

It shows the following:

  • Between 2018 ans 2022 there were 58,000 Spills
  • 173 Million Cubic Meters of Largely Untreated Sewage was Split in to River sand Sea

Where are the Spills Happening?

Many of Scotland’s precious natural waterways, lochs and coastal areas are polluted each year by sewages spills:

  • North Burn
  • Inner Moray Firth
  • River Clyde
  • Brothie Burn
  • River Annan
  • Clyde Estuary
  • Barbauchlaw Burn
  • River Endrick
  • Seil Sound
  • Couston Water
  • Biggar Burn
  • Bonny Water
  • Campbeltown Loch
  • Kennel Burn
  • Luggie Burn
  • Lugar Water
  • River Eden
  • Holy Loch
  • Clyde Estuary/Firth of Clyde
  • River Ythan
  • North Sea
  • Forth Estuary
  • River Tay
  • Kittoch Water

What have these spills got to do with Plastic Pollution?

When we wash our clothes, or scrub or pans with plastic scourers tiny plastic fibres are washed down the drain. Some people also flush away wet wipes, condoms, dental floss, and tampon applicators (yucky but true).

When sewage is treated most of the plastics are removed, the sewage is given time to settle and the resultant sludge (often highly contaminated with plastic) is hopefully disposed of responsibly.

When a sewage works is operating in overflow mode, it spills largely untreated sewage in to rivers, lochs, and sea. This includes the plastic. Plastic pollution is a killer. We also know about the sea creatures that get tangled in nets, but the trillions of micro plastics particle we discharge via our sewers are contaminating our food, air and water. Tea, Rice Beer, Fish, Honey – Often these are laced with microplastics, which is a real shame.


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