A CHARITY has hit out at the district’s water provider over the amount of rubbish entering the River Aire from overflow pipes.

Kevin Sunderland, from the Aire Rivers Trust, has raised concerns about the amount of litter entering the river from a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) in Apperley Bridge.

However, Yorkshire Water has said it cleans up litter and the problems are often caused by people flushing items which are not supposed to be flushed.

Mr Sunderland said that the rubbish, or rags, in the photo on the gates is mainly sanitary towels and wet wipes, and only shows a small proportion of the rags which passed out of the CSO.

He said: “ The gates are there to prevent ingress by youths but when the CSO discharges some of the rags collect on the gates.

“These are only the ones which got caught on the gate, hundreds more probably went down the river.

“The CSO at Apperley Bridge has been discharging on and off for many years, and the building of more and more houses, some of whose occupants add to the already excessive amount of pollution, adds to the problem.

“From personal observations, I would estimate that many thousands of rags have entered the river since the Boxing Day floods in 2015.

“For the above events to be taking place on a regular basis is a real disgrace for Bradford and elsewhere in West Yorkshire.”

Emily Brady, from Yorkshire Water said, the CSOs are necessary otherwise water could flood back up into people’s homes during storms.

She said: “Combined Sewer Overflows are pipes and pumps which are essentially used as relief valves that allow heavily diluted sewage to spill into a watercourse during storm conditions.

“We operate more than 1,800 outfalls across the region, and these are permitted by the Environment Agency.

“We regularly check and maintain our outfall at Apperley Bridge and we endeavour to clean up the outfall when we know it has spilled if it is safe to do so.

“The screens get blocked up by wet wipes and rags; things that shouldn’t be in our sewer network.

“We’d like to remind residents to only flush the three ‘P’s; pee, poo and paper. Anything else risks blocking up our sewer network and can get into the River Aire.”

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle & Thackley) added: “What the photos show is the amount of rubbish that is being tipped into the rivers, and when we did the clean up after the floods it was quite clear the amount of toilet waste that was in the river.

“That [rubbish in the photo] has arrived after just a small rise in the rainfall.

“The problem for me is it begs the question to the capacity of the sewage system

“It is clear the system is not functioning properly., and it is up to Yorkshire Water to prove their sewage system works and I would like to focus specifically on the sewage system and its ability to keep from tipping all the rubbish into our rivers.”

The Aire Rivers Trust is a group formed in 2011 to try and clean up the River Aire and improve water quality and habitats for wildlife.