Renfrewshire suffered 179 potentially hazardous sewage leaks last year, a new report has revealed.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information legislation show there were 116 spillages into the Clyde Estuary and 63 in the Black Cart Water over the space of 12 months.

Combined, these leaks lasted for a total of 3,098 hours – the equivalent of 129 days – before being plugged.

The Black Cart Water is almost 11 miles long and starts from Castle Semple Loch in south-west Renfrewshire.

It runs north and east before joining the White Cart Water north of Paisley to form the River Cart.

The Clyde Estuary runs for 40 miles between Greenock and Glasgow, passing through Renfrewshire.

Concerns have been raised about pollution levels locally, with calls for better monitoring of sewage discharges in the interests of public safety.

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Labour MSP Paul O’Kane, who represents Renfrewshire as part of his West Scotland remit, said: “These are very unpleasant revelations about our water.

“The Scottish Government need to take responsibility and address this issue with the urgency it deserves, instead of pretending that Scotland is immune to problems like sewage leaks.

“If it can be monitored more thoroughly, then all the relevant organisations will be more informed about what can be done to prevent this disgusting sewage from entering our waters.”

Scottish Water figures show that, across the country, there was a 30% rise in the number of what are known as ‘sewage overflow events’ last year.

In total, 14,008 discharges were logged – up from 10,799 in 2021.

At present, only 4% of the 3,614 sewage overflows in Scotland’s 31,000-mile sewer network are monitored.

This is in sharp contrast to England, where there were 14,470 overflows, of which 91% were monitored.

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Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said a lack of monitoring north of the border means residents are being “kept in the dark” about the true scale of the sewage problem.

“The Scottish Government-owned water company should record and publish all sewage discharges so we get a true picture,” he added.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We take sewage pollution incidents very seriously and work closely with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and Scottish Water to reduce any impact.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Water added: “Climate change impacting rainfall patterns and intensity and growth in our villages, towns and cities often means the capacity of the largely Victorian-era system can be exceeded.

“When there are overflows from a rain storm, less than one per cent of this is sewage from toilets. What is spilled is largely rain water.

“We have invested £2.7billion in improving and maintaining the country’s public drainage system and infrastructure over the past decade to help achieve that status.

“We have committed up to £500million of further investment to deliver the most comprehensive programme of work ever undertaken – from the point that water leaves our homes, businesses, road surfaces and roofs, through sewers to treatment works where it is cleaned and returned safely to the environment.

“We will continue to work with our environmental regulator SEPA, the Scottish Government, stakeholders and communities.”