Discharge of bacteria from sewage into UK rivers risks antimicrobial resistance, experts warn
Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, has called on water companies to eliminate the discharge of coliforms from sewage works “with urgency”, citing concerns around the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
In a joint opinion piece, published on the UK government website on 27 June 2022, Whitty, Jonson Cox, chair of Ofwat — the economic regulator of the water sector in England and Wales — and Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency, said water companies “are not doing enough” to prevent raw sewage and waste containing bacteria from human faeces (known as coliforms) from escaping into UK rivers.
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