Pollution

At Yorkshire Water we’re committed to protecting the environment. If you spot anything you think could be watercourse pollution, time is of the essence as pollution incidents that aren’t reported can escalate quickly in severity.

Rippling water

If you've spotted pollution in a water course, please call us on 0800 138 3484 so that we can investigate as a priority.

Signs of a suspected pollution in rivers, water courses or coastal areas could include:

  • The appearance of toilet paper, tissues, wipes, faecal matter, condoms and/or sanitary products
  • A river or stream appearing to look cloudy or milky
  • The appearance of soap suds or foam
  • The presence of a slimy grey sewage fungus
  • Dead or gasping fish
  • Noticeable sewage odour.

Our Pollution Incident Reduction Plan 2020-2025

Our pollution incident reduction plan explains how we will reduce pollution incidents across our asset base. Our plan is aspirational and will be dynamic as it evolves to meet the scale of the challenge and develop and deploy the most cost-effective solutions.

One of our five big goals as part of our plan for delivery by 2025 is the Environment, where we’re committed to remove surface water from our sewers and recycle all waste water, protecting the environment from sewer flooding and pollution. One of our biggest commitments to protect the environment is to reduce pollution incidents by 50% between 2018 and 2025.

Our extensive research tells us that you expect us to prevent sewage escapes damaging your homes and the environment, you support improvements to Yorkshire’s rivers and expect us to keep bills affordable. A staggering 95% of the customers we asked supported our commitment to the Environment as one of our big goals.

Where we identify the incident to be our responsibility, our commitment is to:

  • Take immediate action to stop the pollution
  • Perform a detailed assessment of the cause of the pollution and any environmental impact
  • Inform the Environment Agency of the incident
  • Clean up in the affected areas
  • Ensure that we do everything we can to prevent the problem from happening again


You can also help us to protect the environment by:

  • Only flushing pee, paper and poo down the loo. Wipes, no matter what they say on the packet shouldn’t be flushed
  • Allow fat, oil and grease to cool before putting it in the bin. Do not pour it down the sink or flush it away in the loo
  • Ensuring your sinks, washing machine and dishwasher are connected to the correct waste drain and not the drain for that’s for rain water – one in five homes has a connection to the wrong drain. Find out more at ConnectRight.