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Women going wild swimming in a lake

Travel & Adventure

How to go wild swimming and avoid the sewage

Explainer Series

Published 7/11/2023

Anyone who knows us, knows that we’re pretty into wild swimming - this can be a dip in a stream, some laps in a lake or a full-on ocean swim – we love it all.

We can’t recommend it enough for your mental health, for your soul and for the planet. 🌎

But, if you’re going to go wild swimming, it’s sadly now a fact that you need to watch out for sewage which is a major problem in the UK right now.

For more on why this is happening and what you can do to stop it, check out our sewage scandal explainer and blog here.

How to go wild swimming and avoid the sewage 🏊‍♀️

To be very clear, any time sewage has recently been released into the water, it’s categorically unsafe to take a dip (and just pretty disgusting...).

If you’re a fair-weather swimmer and only swim at popular spots with lifeguards, then they should be testing the water and be able to confirm whether it’s safe to swim.

But, how do you check if it’s safe when there aren’t lifeguards?

  1. So your local water company should be providing up-to-date information on their website, so that should be your first port of call, but this isn’t always the case... (maybe they don’t have the funds…)
  2. For coastal spots, Surfers Against Sewage have an interactive map that you can use to check for most of the latest sewage alerts (and it’s even available as an app so you can check it on the go).
  3. For rivers, it’s harder to check. The Rivers Trust website has a map which you can filter for ‘near real-time alerts’, but it currently only covers the Thames Water region in England.

Wherever you check, if there is a live or recent water quality alert in place, you should not be swimming.

Use your head

The other thing is to just use a bit of common sense - if the water looks scummy, smells or it’s been raining heavily, then give it a miss.

All that being said, we still manage to go wild swimming all the time in some absolutely beaut locations, so don’t despair – it is still possible and definitely worth it.

Sadly, you just have to do your research first.

How to go wild swimming

We’ll be sharing some of our fave wild swimming spots soon, so stay tuned for that and please let us know your top spots to take a dip. Get us on social media @Carbon_Jacked on Instagram and TikTok, or drop us an email to for any of your personal or business sustainability needs.

If you want to do your bit and help protect this incredible planet of ours, you can join us and become a Carbon Jacked Wildling for just £2.50 per month – you'll get access to the CJ Wildling platform whilst planting trees and supporting epic climate projects, sign up and join us here. 

Share this if you care.

Stay wild.

Much love,

The CJ Team x