Environment Agency (EA) data indicates that three of Yorkshire's rivers have some of the worst raw sewage discharge rates in England and Wales.
Data on the volume of sewage spilled into rivers was examined by the advocacy group Top of the Poops.
In 2021, Yorkshire Water pumped sewage directly into the Aire, the Calder, and the Ouse on more than 10,000 occasions. These rivers all appeared in the top 10.
The business claimed to have made an $180 million plan to address the problem.
The numbers show that in 2021, raw sewage was pumped into the Calder 4,055 times, the Aire 4,085 times, and the Ouse 2,099 times.
The Water Framework Directive required member states to have good chemical and ecological status in their waterways by 2027. The UK signed up for this directive before it left the EU.
The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) insists on maintaining that date.
With regard to what was stated to be a small number of chemicals found in rivers because of how long it would take them to dissipate, there is an exemption to 2063.
A Lords amendment to the Environment Act was rejected by 256 MPs on Christmas Eve 2022.
It would have made water companies legally obligated to upgrade their sewage systems and provide evidence of upgrades.
Robbie Moore, a Conservative member of parliament, was one of those who opposed the amendment because he believed it would be difficult and expensive to put into effect.
His home district of Keighley is traversed by the River Aire. In 2021, Yorkshire Water released sewage into it and other rivers in the seat more than 2,000 times.
It was "not a good situation to be in," Mr. Moore said.
We all want to reach the point where the water in our river system is of exceptionally high quality, he said.
He disagreed with the amendment but agreed with the Act.
Although the Environment Act is the tool used to exert pressure on water companies, I would like to see them take much more action. ".
The public is "just waking up," according to Becky Maltby of the Ilkley Clean River Group, to the problem of pollution.
She declared, "Every river in this country is an open sewer.
"We've had kids in the hospital on drips, and one of my friends got sick after swimming in the river and vomiting and having diarrhea.". ".
She claimed that in order for water companies to stop prioritizing profits over solving the problem, the public must demand it.
Yorkshire Water announced that the Aire, Calder, and Ouse rivers would be the focus of a $180 million program to reduce discharges.
The 250 overflows across the Rivers Aire, Calder, and Ouse operated for 11.9 percent of the year in 2022, which is a 37 percent decrease from 2021. ".
The county's drainage and wastewater network would need to be re-plumbed, it claimed, but it would take time and a sizable investment.