Thames 21East London’s broken rivers are one step closer to being fixed with the announcement of a 4-year Thames21 project to tackle urban pollution in the Lower Lea Valley. The project is being made possible through the support of the HSBC Water Programme ‘Fixing Broken Rivers’ follows recent dramatic evidence of the pressure these rivers are under which caused the death of thousands of fish during summer storms after heavy rain washed vast amounts of road pollutants into the River Lea.
The £490,000 project will include a school-based education programme, reaching 32,400 children; the creation of new and regeneration of existing reed beds and the creation of mini Sustainable Drainage Systems. The schools will also be working closely with up to 4,000 HSBC staff and community volunteers to create and monitor the reed beds and drainage systems. The project is the progression of Thames21 pioneering ’Love the Lea’ campaign, which has fought for action on East London’s neglected rivers and championed sustainable solutions to the problems they face.
The campaign will work actively with the community, connecting local people with their rivers and engaging them in practical volunteering opportunities to make measurable changes to river health and raise awareness about water pollution causes and how to prevent them.
Thames Estuary PartnershipThe Thames Estuary Partnership is working with the Environment Agency, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Anglian Water to help raise awareness of the causes of poor water quality in Southend-on-Sea where there are several popular bathing beaches. We are helping to promote good practice and pollution prevention amongst businesses, residents and boat users.
Misconnections resolved in Bishops Stortford Town CentreThe Stort Navigation in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire was identified by the Environment Agency as a watercourse which is impacted by pollution. In particular, excess nutrients are getting into the water that is leading to excessive plant growth (eutrophication). This nutrient enrichment, amongst other impacts, reduces the amount of oxygen available in the water when algae dies back.
In the absence of any obvious cause, the Environment Agency decided to install electronic data-loggers to monitor water quality and find out what was happening, help understand the problems and identify the sources of the pollution. In the end, the Environment Agency found the problem was coming from polluted surface water outfalls in the town. Shahnaz Issac, an Environment Agency Officer, worked in partnership with Thames Water and it's contractors to trace the misconnections. Many misconnections were found including 41 from just one particular business premises!
Householders and business owners were contacted and have responded positively to redirect their drainage, undertaken repairs and make improvements. The result is a marked improvement to the water quality in the river.
Stort Navigation at Twyford Mill Lock