A chemical used in waste water treatment may be in short supply, leading to the temporary relaxation of sewage discharge rules in England.

According to the Government’s website, Brexit, COVID-19, and other unavoidable supply chain issues are reasons why treatment works may not be able to comply with regulations.

CEO from the river movement’s national body The Rivers Trust Mark Lloyd said: “We urge the government to urgently take steps to address the supply chain and labour issues that are causing a lowering of standards of effluent treatment.

“Relaxing the regulation of pollution is not a solution to the problem; they should instead be dealing with the root causes.

“Our rivers are already suffering severe pollution from sewage and agriculture and they need a rapid improvement in water quality rather than a slow death by a thousand cuts.”

The issue relates to availability of ferric sulphate, an acidic solution used to suppress the growth of algae, used in the water treatment process.

As of 7 Sept, Defra confirmed in a Guardian article that no water company had yet notified a shortage of the chemical but it was introducing the regulatory position as a precautionary measure.

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