Last week I was lucky enough to visit the Hogsmill River twice with some of our dedicated Pollution Patrol volunteers.
From left to right: Geoff, Me (Polly), Steph, Peter, Bill and Jan
Our Pollution Assessment Volunteers (PAVs) work hard to track down and monitor polluted outfalls on the river, sending reports to the Environment Agency for action.
On Wednesday we were joined at a particularly bad outfall by our local Environment Agency Officer Steph to take some samples.
Sewage fungus at the outfall
Steph sampled for ammonia, which is used as an indicator of raw sewage entering the river, and for oxygen available to river invertebrates and fish. Oxygen is a good indicator of how polluted an outfall is, as bacteria use up oxygen to break down organic pollutants, which reduces oxygen available to other species which can sometimes result in fish kills.
For this week, both readings were fine.
This is one of many outfalls we’ve been looking at. You can find Steph’s updated report here.
On Friday I was invited along to the monthly Riverfly Monitoring session at the same outfall with the same dedicated team. Every month they get together at this location and take a kick sample of invertebrates as an indicator of how healthy the area is.
Some invertebrates such as caddis flies are very sensitive to pollution and are therefore an excellent indicator of water quality. If this is something you might be interested in, check out the website here!
Thank you to all our volunteers working on the Pollution Patrol scheme – we are making progress!