Tag Archives: Pollution

Thames Water needs to hear from you!

This is the first of a series on blogs focusing on the Water Resource Management Plans for the water companies operating in the south east. To find out what these plans are and why they are important, read our Introduction Blog.

Thames Water is the largest water and wastewater provider in the UK, serving 15 million customers throughout the Thames basin, right from the Cotswolds to the Thames Estuary, where the river meets the sea.

In this blog we will outline their Water Resources Management Plan to help you understand how Thames Water’s proposals will affect your local environment, and highlight what we think are the key points to raise in their consultation to see the best improvement for our rivers and streams.

Their consultation is open until the 29th April so make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to stand up for your local river. 

Currently…

  • Every day Thames Water alone removes 2,600 million litres of water from natural systems, including rivers and the underground reserves that feed our wonderful chalkstreams,  in order to meet our water demands. The more water we use, the more they take and the less there is available for wildlife.
  • 25% of this abstracted water is lost before it even reaches us through leaks in supply pipes. This is an unnecessary loss of our precious water resource.
  • Thames Water have estimated that with increasing population, and decreasing water availability due to climate change, there will be a water shortfall of 864 million litres per day by 2100.

  • There were 1290 incidents of raw sewage flooding last year. Blockages and heavy rainfall can overwhelm the capacity of the current outdated drainage system, causing untreated waste to back up and overflow, entering the environment. See our video of the overflowing Epsom Storm Tanks here.
  • 385 “minor pollution incidents” occurred over the same period. These can be caused by misconnected drainage from residential and business properties, when foul water from sinks, washing machines and toilets, is accidentally entering the surface water drainage system and flowing untreated, directly into rivers.

          Chalkstream experiencing low flows.                      Polluting outfall with “sewage rag”

Key Improvement Areas…

We’ve seen first-hand the threats facing rivers in our region. Thames Water has many opportunities to lessen the impacts they are having on the natural environment and some key areas to improve include:

  • Reducing the amount of water wasted through leakages.
  • Stopping abstraction from our rare chalkstream habitats and use more sustainable sources instead.
  • Increasing capacity and investing more in updating old assets in their sewage system that can no longer cope with the increased population, like the storm tanks.
  • Rectifying misconnected drains and working more closely with partners and local authorities to stop new misconnections occurring.
  • Helping consumers to reduce the amount of water they use at home.
  • Installing Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) to reduce the volume of surface water getting into the sewer system during storms, which overload the network and often result in pollution incidents.

Have your say…

There is the potential for great improvement to the health of our rivers. We’d like you to help empower Thames Water to make the right decisions by showing your customer support for increased investment in environmental improvement works and calling for some of the actions we have outlined above.

This consultation ends on 29th April.

Got 1 minute? Find Thames Water on Facebook or Twitter using @thameswater and send your views with #yourwaterfuture

Got 5 minutes? Use the Thames Water Interactive Tool so show them how you’d like their spending to be prioritised.

Got a bit longer? Send Thames Water an email at consultations@thameswater.co.uk with your views. We’ve drafted a template you can personalise to help start you off, download it here.

The full Thames Water plans can be found on their consultation page.

Better farming practices to help our rivers

The new Farming Rules for Water

From April this year farmers across the country will be following a new set of guidelines that allow them to manage their land in a way that has benefits for them as well as for our rivers, lakes and coastal waters. We welcome this step by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) which will encourage farmers to think about water pollution and the positive steps they can take to reduce their impacts on our wonderful rivers – you can’t turn your nose up at that!

Water pollution is a big issue for rivers, and modern agricultural practices unfortunately play a big part in degrading water quality, especially in rural areas across this green and pleasant land. The manure and manufactured fertilisers that farmers add to their land contain vital nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus that plants need to help them grow healthily.  But when it rains, these nutrients can easily be carried away from the fields, and drain into rivers and other nearby waterbodies. This is called diffuse water pollution, and agriculture is responsible for about a third of the diffuse water pollution in the UK. Although individual incidents may only have a small impact, collectively they can be very damaging. Lakes, rivers and streams cover only 2% of the landscape but the composition of their water reflects the combination of every activity taking place in the area of land they drain (their catchment). These accumulated nutrient levels cause fast growing algae to boom, smothering wildlife and damaging these sensitive ecosystems.

Topsoil is also a valuable resource for farmers because this is where plants lay down their roots. A nice thick layer of good quality topsoil will contain all the nutrients that plants need to survive. Grass provides a great source of food for many farm animals and its roots help to bind the nutrient-rich topsoil together to stop it washing away. As livestock walks across the grass, the animals’ feet can cause damage to the turf, especially in wet and muddy conditions. This is called ‘poaching’ and can increase soil erosion, causing our rivers to run brown after rainfall, which affects the fish and insects which live in them.

Defra’s new Farming Rules for Water will help with these problems:

Farmers must test the soil in their fields every 5 years for nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen. This allows them to better plan how much fertiliser they need to add to make sure the needs of their crops are met but not exceeded; saving them money and improving water quality in the process.

Fertilisers must be stored in a way that doesn’t pose a significant risk of pollution, and they shouldn’t be applied close to rivers and other waterbodies. By not spreading fertilisers on waterlogged or frozen ground, farmers can increase the rate of retention in their fields and less of the nutrients will be washed away.

Reasonable precautions must be taken to reduce soil erosion, and livestock feeders should be positioned away from rivers, lakes and springs. Any land within 5 metres of fresh or coastal waters will have to be protected from soil erosion by preventing poaching by livestock.

A full list of the rules can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/farming-rules-for-water-from-april-2018/farming-rules-for-water-overview

Most farmers will already be doing these things through their current farming practices, but these rules will bring all farms up to this higher standard so that everyone is on a level playing field. Steps like these are really positive and will help British farmers be more profitable and be more aware of their potential impacts on the environment, which in turn will help our rivers.

Happy World Water Day!

The theme of World Water Day in 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – and it’s designed to help us all explore how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

One of the water challenges we face here in Sutton is surface water flooding. The SuDS in Sutton’s Schools project plans to install sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in seven local schools and at Sutton Council’s offices on Denmark Road. SuDS mimic nature by attenuating rainwater on site, allowing it to either infiltrate into the ground or be released slowly and safely into the drainage network. Not only can this help solve flooding issues but it can also improve the quality of water that reaches the river.

But how can nature bring about these benefits? Watch this video to find out:

 

The results:

On World Water Day, it’s worth thinking about the changes we can make to help solve the water challenges we face. In an urban environment, this could mean creating SuDS features like planters, green roofs or rain gardens to absorb rainwater and filter out contaminants. If lots of people get involved in making their outdoor spaces more rainwater-friendly, we can all begin to have a real impact on our local environment.

The Hogsmill river, a globally rare chalk river, is regularly contaminated with sewage

On the afternoon of Wednesday 24th January 2018, this happened…

…. And it’s not an isolated event. This is sewage, temporarily held in a Thames Water storm water tank in Epsom, discharging into the Green Lanes Stream and the Hogsmill river.

What are Storm Tanks and why is this happening?

The Hogsmill (Epsom and Ewell) Storm Tanks are both located in the upper reaches of the Hogsmill river. The tanks function as temporary storage for untreated sewage as it travels through the network of pipes towards the Hogsmill Sewage Treatment Works (STW). During heavy rainfall, rainwater as well as sewage fills up the system: to prevent it backing up into homes, there are temporary storage systems like these storm tanks, and sometimes overflow pipes into rivers (known as combined sewer overflows), which help to relieve the pressure.  Usually the storm tanks contain the sewage until the rain has passed and the sewage can drain back into the network to be treated at the Hogsmill STW. However, occasionally, during higher rainfall, the storm tanks fill up completely and will discharge any excess sewage to the Hogsmill river itself.

This system was designed when the population of London was much lower and the area of paved urban surfaces (which cause rain to run off rather than infiltrating into the ground) was much less. It is a consented discharge – which means it is legal – as it was originally designed to happen only very occasionally as a kind of safety valve for the system (once or twice a year we think), but with population growth, urbanisation and climate change, it now happens more frequently. Our volunteers have monitored around 12 or 14 flow events per year in recent years.

Why is all this a problem for the Hogsmill?

The Hogsmill is classified as a chalkstream, a globally rare habitat with only 200 remaining worldwide. Chalkstreams give rise to a unique set of species that depend heavily on the clean, chalk-purified water and are consequently very sensitive to any decline in water quality.  The Hogsmill Storm Tanks are therefore a real threat to the chalkstream species community, even more so because they discharge sewage into the headwaters, affecting the entire river downstream.

When the system was designed and consented, it was done so on the assumption that the sewage would be diluted as the river would have high flows from all the rain. Unfortunately two things have happened which mean there is much less water in the Hogsmill than at that time. Firstly, many areas have been paved over with urban growth, meaning rainwater runs down drains rather than soaking into the ground and feeding the river. Secondly, the groundwater aquifer from which the Hogsmill flows, is the same source of water that comes out of our taps, and all the water we use has reduced the amount available for the river, and, ultimately, dilution of the storm tank effluent.

Finally, we know that the Hogsmill is important to local people and loved by many. None of us want to see it polluted, and we are particularly worried about this pollution because many people enjoy paddling in the river in warmer months.

What can we do about it?

The South East Rivers Trust and the Hogsmill Catchment Partnership are very concerned about all these impacts and have been working with Thames Water to find a solution.

 Our network was designed to discharge here when it becomes overloaded after heavy rain.  These discharges are legal in storm conditions, but of course deeply unpleasant and undesirable.  We understand the local concerns and are currently studying ways to manage flows better across this whole catchment.  We will share the report with the Catchment Partnership when the work is complete.  In the meantime, I can confirm that a clean-up operation started today, with the aim of removing as much litter as possible” – Richard Aylard, External Affairs and Sustainability Director, Thames Water 25th January 2018

What can you do to help?

While it may seem a problem which most of us can do little about, everyone can actually be part of the solution. The Catchment Partnership will continue to work with Thames Water to find a permanent solution to the problem. In the meantime, below are just some of the ways we all impact the sewer network and how we can help to alleviate the system.

Say no to paved gardens!

Every time a garden or driveway is paved over, we are exacerbating this problem. Tarmac, pavements, decking, and other similar surfaces, are usually impermeable to water, so rain simply washes off straight down the drain. With more and more people opting for paving, we are putting an increasing demand on the sewage network, making it more likely that the tanks will fill up and over top, discharging to the Hogsmill more and more frequently and with greater volume ending up in the river.

Bin it, don’t flush it!

Walking down the Hogsmill, you may see some unexpected items such as cotton buds, wet wipes and sanitary products. These have been flushed down toilets and have reached the Hogsmill through the Storm Tanks or misconnected pipes. Within the sewer system, they can also cause blockages and when combined with fats and oils from the kitchen sinks, create giant fatbergs, which can burst sewers, over top into nearby rivers or flood people’s homes.

The only things that should be flushed down the toilet are the three Ps – pee, poo and paper. Wet wipes are often claimed to be flushable, but these are actually are one of the biggest causes of blockages. So, unless it’s one of the three Ps, bin it, don’t flush it… or you may see it again in the Hogsmill!

The overflow pipe from Ewell Storm Tanks on the Hogsmill after a discharge incident.

A new, exciting project to improve water quality on the Beverley Brook Part 2

In August we were very lucky to receive funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation to install a Downstream Defender (silt trap) at Richmond Park, which will stop pollutants (such as heavy metals and hydrocarbons) reaching the Beverley Brook and improve local water quality and the health of the river.

The project was one of three water management projects being managed by The Rivers Trust and WWF, in the Thames and South East River Basins, for the benefit of both people and wildlife. The wider initiative is funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation and contributes to Coca-Cola’s promise to safely return the full amount of water used in finished beverages and their production to communities and nature by 2020 – an ongoing commitment as they managed to reach this goal five years ahead of target. Globally Coca-Cola works in over 2000 communities and supports more than 248 community water partnership projects in over 71 countries – this being one of them.

If you wanted to find out more about how this project came about, you can read our Introduction Blog here.

Our first report left off at the point of the launch event – with the highlight being the arrival of the lower section of the Downstream Defender silt trap. When we all saw it arrive on the back of the low loader, I think it’s fair to say that we were all was a little shocked by the scale of it, including myself and Dave, the Site Manager.

Despite months of looking at the diagrams, seeing a number in the dimension box, and doing the calculations, the actual size only hits home when you are confronted by the scale of it in 3D. But that was nothing – the following week, the upper section arrived, and I’ll let the photos tell the story!

The bottom section seemed big but then…

the base section turned up

The Royal Parks had agreed to let us install this unit in Richmond Park, and they also very kindly allowed us to commandeer one corner of the Roehampton Gate car park for the five-week duration of the works.

Our occupation of the car park was appreciated by some more than others

To start with, a by-pass channel was installed around the point where the Downstream Defender would be located on the existing drain. This would to help accommodate peak flows and prevent surcharging the drain network.

Once the bypass was installed, it was time to dig the main excavation. The base of the Downstream Defender was big enough, but it was absolutely dwarfed by the upper section. This was going to have to be an impressive hole!

After much head-scratching, the Kenward Groundworks guys came to the moment of truth – lowering and offering up both sections of the chamber. The head-scratching had clearly paid off. The height of the inlet and outlet pipes were spot on, and running a spirit level over the unit verified that they’d done a very good job of getting it to fit.

The moment of truth

 

The bubble doesn’t lie. Great job!

A significant amount of concrete back-filling and some careful landscaping later, you would never guess what lies beneath. The only evidence on the surface is four inspection covers and some disturbed ground, and these too will soon disappear from view as the vegetation establishes.

But out of sight certainly isn’t out of mind. Simply knowing the Downstream Defender’s beneficial effects in improving the quality of water flowing from the A3 into the Beverley Brook is reassuring enough, but now we’re planning to demonstrate and quantify this too. Watch this space!

What Downstream Defender?

Once again a massive thank you to all involved. Thanks to…

  • The Coca-Cola Foundation for funding the work as part of their aim to help conserve water worldwide
  • The Environment Agency
  • The Royal Parks for your continued and much appreciated assistance and permission
  • Thames Water for all your contributions
  • Hydro International, WWF, The Rivers Trust and the Friends of Richmond Park
  • And a special thanks to all the guys at Kenward Groundworks who delivered a top job
  • And thanks for John Sutton from Clearwater Photography for the great photos

Thank you all!

Knowing your rudd from your roach

Our lucky Pollution Patrol volunteers were treated to a FIN-tastic day with our local Environment Agency team, learning all about fish.

It may come as a surprise to some people, but the Hogsmill, Wandle and Beverley Brook all contain a variety of different fish species. Common species across all three rivers include chub, dace, roach, barbel, stickleback and European eels.

But how do you tell the different between these species? For some, it is easier than others. The European eel is quite distinctive compared to the others for example. But as to the rest, it’s a bit more difficult.

Tom Cousins, a local EA Fisheries Officer, started the day for us with a presentation on the different fish species and the key identifying features.

The diagram below shows the external morphology of an average fish, and the features that help us distinguish one species from another.

For example: Roach and Rudd

These two fish are quite similar in appearance, both large-bodied with reddish fins. So how can we tell them apart? The answer is by looking at the mouth.

The roach is a bottom feeder, and its mouth points downwards, with the upper lip over-hanging the bottom lip – whereas a rudd feeds from the surface, and therefore the bottom lip overhangs the top lip.

The presentation from the Environment Agency is available below for you to download, with many more tricks and tips for ID.

Fish ID Presentation

As part of the training day, we also got to witness the Environment Agency’s electrofishing survey at Morden Hall Park on the River Wandle in South London.

It was amazing to learn about the fish in the classroom, and then come outside and see some in the flesh. Each fish caught was measured, and scale samples from some were taken in order to age the fish.

Once they had been recorded and had recovered, they were returned safely back to the Wandle. 

Many thanks to Morden Hall Park for hosting us and to the Environment Agency for running the event!

Volunteers Join Forces for the Hogsmill

The Hogsmill river doesn’t know how lucky it is!

Last week, 30 volunteers joined SERT and ZSL at London Zoo for the 2017 Hogsmill Forum.

2017_hogsmill_forum_ZSL

The Forum is an opportunity for us and ZSL to say thank you to all the volunteers who help us with our projects on the Hogsmill – Pollution Patrol and the Riverfly Monitoring Initiative.

It is also a chance to share wider plans for the river with the local community,  discussing ideas and actions for the coming year; all of which feed in to the Hogsmill Catchment Partnership which SERT host.

If you are interested in either project, get in touch – volunteering@southeastriverstrust.org

And why not have a read of these presentations which our speakers delivered through the course of the day?

Presentations:

Many thanks to ZSL for hosting us, and for letting us have a look around the zoo after the meeting!

Untitled

 

 

Water quality improvements are on par at Richmond Park

Shortly I will post another blog updating you on how the river improvement works in Richmond Park are settling in one year after they were completed. Although the river habitat works have been completed (for now!) work has by no means ended. In addition to improving the habitat, our attention is also focused on addressing the poor water quality entering into the Brook.

Upstream of the Richmond Park golf course, rain water pours off the surrounding urban catchment and notably down the incredibly busy and often choked A3 at Roehampton Hill. It then flows down the gulley pots, into a surface water drain before this opens out into a ditch which flows across Richmond Park Golf Course before discharging into the Beverley Brook. Such road runoff is known to cause detrimental effects to the aquatic environment, not only from the significant quantities of sediment carried in it, but additionally from the contaminants bound to it. These include Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), hydrocarbons and heavy metals. Our aim was to therefore capture the sediment and the contaminants before they reach the Brook. This was achieved with a two pronged attack.

img_2820

Oil from the A3 covering the surface of the pond in the golf course. Thick black sediment covers the bed

First of all, mid-fairway at the upstream end of the golf course we opened the ditch out to create an on-line pond, known to us as a silt trap but to golfers as a feature water hazard. With help from Rob McInnes, the pond’s size was calculated so that all coarse sediment down to 0.1mm would drop out as a consequence of lowering the velocity of the flow. A shallow marginal ledge was incorporated along the length of the pond, which has been planted with a mix of wetland plant species to promote deposition, whilst providing species and habitat diversity. By emptying the pond regularly, the silt is removed from the system and the effectiveness of the trap is maintained.

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Starting to open the ditch out

img_3254

A few months after completion, the pond is trapping plenty of silt (and plenty of golf balls)

The second measure took place a few hundred metres further down the ditch where an existing online pond, in the shape of a ring doughnut, provided an excellent opportunity to be modified to create a wetland. The plan was to re-jig it so that the doughnut became a U-shape. This prevents short-circuiting, therefore increasing retention times, reducing velocities and again promoting a depositional environment.

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The pond before works start

The pond was too deep to plant straight into, so we needed to find spoil to fill it in. What better way to produce the spoil than dig a second wetland immediately upstream of the first, which will increase the treatment capacity further.

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Re configuring and filling in of the pond

Six thousand plants consisting of over 20 species were planted in the wetlands. The dense structure created by the plants results in even finer sediments being captured than in the silt trap upstream.

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The wetlands newly planted with 6000 plugs and fenced off

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August and the plants have established

Furthermore, this has now created a fantastic wetland habitat full of dragonflies, damselflies and frogs to name a few. Both the silt trap and wetlands have been fenced off and have bird twine strung over them to prevent the large population of geese from nobbling the plants before they had the chance to establish. The total area of both is approximately 800 metres square.

A simple water level control structure was created at the outlet of each wetland. As sediment accumulates and reduces the depth of water over time, another drop board can be put in, allowing the water depth to be increased, therefore reducing maintenance requirements and prolonging the life of the wetland.

The effectiveness of the installed measures is currently being monitored, however a coincidental site visit during a pollution event helped to anecdotally demonstrate the effectiveness. Run-off from a presumed building site was bringing significant quantities of sand rich water into the ditch. After the silt trap, the turbidity of water flowing out was visually improved. Walking further down the ditch network, after flowing through both wetlands, we were incredibly impressed to see that the water flowing out and into the river was clear to the eye. Although this was always the theory behind why we created these features, to see it work first hand to such a great effect was brilliant and hugely satisfying. With contaminants generally being bound to sediment, this clearly demonstrates not only a reduction of sediment input to the river but indirectly of contaminants too.

silt-trap

Thick sandy water flowing into the sediment trap

downstream-of-wetlands

Water in the ditch downstream of the sediment trap and both wetlands

outfall-into-river

Significantly improved water clarity entering into the Beverley Brook

Job done!! (for now anyway). I am now working up the next phase of water quality improvements. Updates will follow shortly.

As always, the success of this project is down to the valuable contribution of many people and organisations.

Big thanks to the ongoing project partners; the Environment Agency, Defra, The Royal Parks and Friends of Richmond Park. Thanks to Jon Dummett and Gary Stewart at Glendale Golf Course for surprisingly being so willing in allowing us to dig up their course and for their continued support since. Thanks to Rob McInnes at RM Wetlands & Environment Ltd for guiding the designs, Ben and the guys at Aquamaintain for braving the cold February days delivering the work and again for planting it up. Thanks to Thames Water for providing the flow meter which was installed in the ditch network to inform the design and finally, to Layla at Queen Mary University for monitoring the work.

Outfall Safari on the Hogsmill

ZSL and the Hogsmill Partnership are looking for volunteers to help us map polluted outfalls on the Hogsmill this October.

While walking the Hogsmill you may have noticed all the different pipes that can be found along the river bank. These pipes are usually part of our surface water infrastructure, transporting clean water from our roads and roofs into the river. However in some cases, these pipes or outfalls can be polluting the Hogsmill as they have been misconnected.

Polluted Outfall

Misconnections are a BIG issue for urban rivers and the Hogsmill Catchment Partnership have been working hard to start addressing this on the Hogsmill River.

A misconnection is when a toilet or washing machine has been connected to the surface water drain heading straight to the river, instead of the sewer system. You can read more about misconnections at on the Connect Right website.

Connect Right

This October, ZSL are running an Outfall Safari to map all these pipes heading into the Hogsmill, and assessing their condition to check for misconnections.

Volunteers will receive training on how to recognise signs of pollution at these outfalls and record the pipes on a new smartphone app. This survey data will greatly improve our understanding of the river system and help to target sources of pollution.

Interested?

If you would like to join the team, you can sign up on EventBrite to register your interest. Once you’ve registered, more information will be sent to you about where and when the training sessions will take place.

Sign Me Up!

For more information contact by email: Joe.Pecorelli@ZSL.org, or phone: 07974 725 557
Outfall BannerPlease register your interest to help at: hogsmilloutfalls.eventbrite.co.uk

You’ll need to read this before your training session: 2016-Pre-training-information-for-Hogsmill-Outfall-Safari-Volunteers..pdf

New London Partnership Project to tackle Urban Pollution

We have teamed up with Thames 21 on a new project to tackle urban pollution across London’s rivers.

Many improvements in the quality of urban rivers have been made in recent years, but lots of serious water quality issues remain. One of the biggest issues is ‘urban runoff’, where a toxic mixture of contaminants derived from urban areas drain straight into rivers.

With surface water drains often running straight into rivers, these contaminants are washed directly and unfiltered into urban rivers when it rains. During these ‘first flush’ events, river water often changes from being clear and colourless to being an opaque grey-black colour, and water analysis shows that a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, fine particles, nutrients, microorganisms and heavy metals are the cause.

First Flush samples from the River Wandle

First Flush samples from the River Wandle

In urban areas the contaminants causing rivers to run grey-black in colour may have a greater impact, but the locations at which they enter a river are often unknown, and they are relatively costly to survey, with samples needing to be processed by a lab.

Our project with Thames 21 is testing a low-cost sampling method that can be used by volunteers to identify complex urban contamination. In particular, it aims to investigate Surface Water Outfalls (SWOs) which discharge contaminated urban runoff into London’s tributaries of the River Thames.

The method being developed is based on evidence from data collected on the River Wandle, and urban sites in Wigan in NW England, which show that Total Suspended Solids (TSS) are strongly correlated with several important heavy metals and E. coli (a bacterium which can indicate faecal matter) and can therefore be used as a low-cost proxy to identify problematic concentrations of these contaminants.

The next step in this project is for us and Thames 21 to create Pollutant Profiles for our rivers to see if they match this correlation. You can follow progress on the project on our Twitter feed @SE_Rivers_Trust with #TSS!

The 2016 Hogsmill Forum

The Hogsmill River may have its problems, but it is one of the lucky urban rivers to have huge community support and many enthusiastic volunteers.

We run our Pollution Patrol on the Hogsmill, tracking down polluted outfalls and misconnections. While ZSL run the Riverfly Monitoring Initiative which uses the kick sampling of invertebrates to check for organic pollution.

So to thank everyone for their hard work, both projects combined for a joint Hogsmill Forum – kindly hosted by ZSL at London Zoo.

Hogs Forum

The event was a huge success with some really interesting discussions on the priorities for the Hogsmill going forward. Below you can download PDFs of the presentations.

Presentations:

 

Happy Anniversary to the Hogsmill Pollution Patrol

Pollution on the HogsmillWith the start of 2016 comes the One Year Anniversary of our Hogsmill Pollution Patrol scheme – and what an amazing job it has done so far!

Throughout 2015, our trained volunteers have been monitoring 15 outfalls on the Hogsmill for signs of pollution such as misconnected appliances and sewage discharge.

Together they have submitted 470 reports of pollution to us. Working with the Environment Agency and Thames Water, we have been able to start investigating these issues and begin work towards rectifying them to improve water quality on the Hogsmill River.

To read the latest update of our work, please download our Newsletter below.

Pollution Newsletter December 2015

If you see pollution on your river, call the Environment Agency hotline on:

0800 80 70 60

Pollution

Pollution-Busting on the Wandle

Over the last 2 years, the Wandle Trust has been intensifying efforts to tackle the considerable problem of pollution in the river. Often contamination can be tackled by our partners in the Environment Agency, tracking down pollution to the source. However, this does not work for all sources of contamination.

For example, contaminants such as particles from car exhaust, the loss of engine oil and other contaminants from the roads can all be washed into the river from no one “point” source. This is known as diffuse pollution.

DiffusePollutionTo illustrate this, there are about 2.5 million cars in London, and 16% of them leak oil. It has been calculated that this would equate to 261,635 gallons of oils dripping onto roads every year! Much of this oil will work its way into London’s surface water drains and then the rivers.

Although changes to the law and car technology may help one day in the future, we need to start acting now. It has been the Wandle Trust’s mission to find out how the contaminated waters from the surface water drains can be cleaned up before entering our river. This is vitally important because water quality is a major determinant of what wildlife can live in the rivers, how beautiful the rivers are, and how much the community value their local water landscapes.

In the current phase of our Pollution Busting Project, four measures are being installed and trialled to determine their effectiveness in reducing the contamination coming into the River Wandle. These measures are the most promising selected from several which were investigated by the Trust and they are called:

  • Downstream Defenders
  • Mycofilters
  • Siltex
  • Smart Sponges

There will be more information about these appearing on our websites in the coming months. We look forward to telling you more about this exciting new phase of our work!