70% of the sewerage systems in England and Wales are made up of combined sewers, meaning they carry both sewage and rain water off for treatment at the sewage works. A combined storm overflow (CSO) is effectively a safety valve which prevents sewage backing up into homes and businesses. In extreme circumstances CSOs act as relief valves for the sewerage system by discharging directly into rivers and the sea, rather than to a sewage treatment works, preventing rainwater mixed with sewage from flooding homes. Some CSO discharges will affect bathing waters and the more rain we have the more discharges occur.More
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