Television presenter, Dan Snow has claimed rivers are running with sewage after responding to a message on social media, highlighting the smell of sewage in the River Itchen.

The historian was responding to a post on X – formerly known as Twitter – from Helen Farr, Maritime Archaeologist at the University of Southampton, who had commented on the state of the water at Riverside Park.

She wrote: “Walked along the River Itchen today, a nice stroll through Riverside Park and over to St Denys.

“Swans, cygnets, elderflowers and the stench of human sewage flowing out of Southern Water works, the river was ‘soupy'.”

She added: “This is a crime; the company bosses must be held accountable.”

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Replying to Helen’s social media post, Dan Snow commented: “Rivers are running with sewage.

“I wish politicians were addressing this with greater urgency in this election campaign.”

Responding to the tweets, a spokesperson for Southern Water told the Echo: “We can confirm that Portswood Wastewater Treatment Works is operating as it should, in accordance with the Environment Agency's permit, and there have been no storm overflows here recently.

“We are however aware of a separate challenge at the site relating to concerns over odour affecting the local area.

“This is due to challenges around the sludge entering the site.” 

They went on to say: “We have committed to making £1m of improvements this summer to change the way the site operates through installing another level of treatment, which should help.

“We are very sorry for the impact this is having on customers nearby - we are working hard to tackle it as quickly as possible."

This comes two months after member of Southampton City Council, Cllr John Savage, criticised Southern Water over their lack of plans to deal with bad smells for residents in St Denys – however Southern Water responded by saying ‘a great deal of work’ had gone into their Odour Management Plan.