Anglers taking part in a river clean-up were horrified to discover sewage had been discharged into the River Wye from the treatment plant in Buxton.
Volunteers from Buxton Fly Fishing Club had turned up last Sunday to remove rubbish from the river in preparation for the new fishing season which starts on March 18.
On arrival at Topley Pike car park they noticed an overpowering stench and that the water was a horrible unnatural grey colour.
After walking upriver they were informed that Severn Trent Water had been contacted and were advised that members should not go into the river.
They were told it had been a recurring problem but as the club had not been informed fear members were put at unnecessary risk.
Volunteer Stuart Merchant said: “I was appalled and angry at the scale of the pollution. I learnt later that the smell had been reported six miles further downstream.”
Severn Trent said there had been a problem at the sewage treatment plant in Buxton: “A small amount of storm sewage has been put through the storm tanks and into the River Wye. This is not raw sewage but storm sewage that has been screened and settled.
“The Environment Agency (EA) are aware and they have carried out ecological surveys upstream which have shown that there is zero environmental impact.
“Severn Trent takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and we would not put any river or wildlife in danger on purpose. While we sympathise with the anglers, this has been classed by the Environment Agency as the lowest category.
“We are currently investing to rectify the problem and, as stated, the EA are fully aware of the situation.”