VOLUMES of foul-smelling brown water are being released into the River Itchen, campaigners have warned.

Sewage from the Portswood water works regularly pollutes the river, according to National Park City Southampton volunteers.

"Would it be acceptable to litter rubbish on the Common? That's what Southern Water are doing by releasing sewage in the river," volunteer Gavin Miller told the Echo.

READ MORE: River Itchen boat squatters in Southampton speak out

He added: "Southern Water in particular discharge raw sewage from the Portswood Sewage works in St Denys into the estuary many times a year.

"There used to be a barge that went up and down the river. Once or twice it would collect sewage from the sewage works near Cobden Bridge and take it to Marchood Wood.

"But there is now a centruge dewatering plant, and cloudy, treated water is released. It is brown, foul and smelly."

He put the matter to Southampton City Council during last week's Court Leet - an event to give citizens the chance to discuss issues the council may not be aware of.

Daily Echo:

A Southern Water spokesperson said that there has been 14 permitted releases from Portswood Wastewater Treatment Works this year.

"These are in compliance with our Environment Agency permit which allows us to discharge excess volume at times of increased rainfall," the spokesperson added.

“Without this storm overflow ‘pressure valve’, the drainage and sewage system would be overwhelmed resulting in flooding to homes and communities. However, we are investing in ways to reduce our reliance on this system moving forwards.

“It is important to state that all storm releases from Portswood have already been subject to at least initial treatment, and are typically made up of around 95 per cent rainwater.”

Gavin would like the Itchen estuary to become a Southampton City Park to protect the environment.

Making the estuary a national park would "set out a vision for what the River Itchen could be," he said.

"It has huge benefits for the environment and we do not make enough of it.

"It sends out a clear message of the value of that space within a city. People have a voice and a say in what happens."

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