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Do you think that this is typical of how are rivers.
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Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13510

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 09 2:37 pm    Post subject: Do you think that this is typical of how are rivers.  Reply with quote    

Are being cleaned up ?


If there been a remarkable improvement in the water quality of our inland waterways, how much of it is down to a genuine effort compared to a general melt down of the countries manufacturing base ? Just a handy bye product of econmomic disaster ?

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 09 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

When I was a kid, the Tyne was revoltng. Really nasty, often kind of oily and to a childs nose often distinctly 'chemicaly'. Hardly surprsing with big shipyards and many other industries thereabouts. Now its relatively clean there are otters being spotted right near the centre of Gateshead. No industry, but otters.

We've effectively exported the industry, and with it the pollution. Make of that what you will.

Behemoth



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 19023
Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 09 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It's a bit of both. What industry there is has been required to clean up and what industry there isn't doesn't pollute any more. However there are industrial legacies. The Tyne is still affected by heavy metals, particulalry lead following heavy storms in the northern pennines, which washes through the old spoil from lead workings going back to Roman times. Domestic sewage for the most part is treated to a much higher standard than in the past.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35875
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 09 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

overall better over the last forty years but not unaffected by human activity
compared to rivers where there has been little mass or industrial activity most british rivers are struggling, low oxygen /high substances bio restricted systems
i could rant but to no end

James



Joined: 11 Jan 2006
Posts: 2865
Location: York
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 09 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

bodger wrote:
how much of it is down to a genuine effort compared to a general melt down of the countries manufacturing base


This drives me absolutely mad. I'm fed up to the back teeth of hearing this sort of comment.

Do you think that salmon just appear in our rivers like magic?

The seals that now come up as far as Tadcaster- are they random accidents of nature?

The river corridor floral diversity which is second to none within Europe doesn't just happen by fluke of circumstance.

Two generations ago, we had the by far the worst rivers in Europe. Now they are out and out the best by a long chalk.

I've spen almost all my working life trying to stop contamination entering rivers. I've helped clean up more land than you could shake a stick at. And as such, my work has had a dirrect impact on the quality of our rivers. To say otherwise is to say what I do is pointless.

Its hard science, I deal with stuff that you cant see in 4 dimesions. I deal in chemical break down products, half lives, fluid dynamics and monte-carlo probability models. Thats how our rivers are kept clean.

In 2005, one of the big four supermarkets spilled 115,000 litres of diesel into one of the major rivers in the north east. The Environment Agency have spent the last 10 years encouraging Salmon back into this river, and have succeeded. Shortly after the spill, diesel started appearing in the river. Environment Agency officers controlled the spread of the leak to a very limited area and stopped gross pollution of the estuary (which had two SSSI's at its mouth). The environmental prosecution team called me in to determine the risk to the river, and to enter into discussions with the geological consultants employed by the supermarket.
The arguments went on for two years. I prepared a detailed report on the physical, chemical and geological risks to the river associated with the spill.
Two days before I was due in court, they backed down and were fined vast amounts of money.

Two weeks ago (four years after the incident..), I signed off the land surrounding the river as clean. In the meantime, Environment Agency staff have been constantly working to ensure that no pollution enters the salmon river.

The result: The river has been kept clean, the supermarket has been fined, Salmon still swim up stream. It was "genuine effort" on our part over many, many years that brought about this successful outcome.

And you know the real irony of it ? You paid for this work in your taxes.
and you donít even realise we do it.

And you have the audacity to say it's just because our industry has collapsed.

Laugh? I almost pissed myself. Do you think that the contamination stops when the company goes bust?

Most of my workload is from industrial contamination thatís over 100 years old impacting on the rivers.

Couple that with the fact that we use more hazardous substances now than we did 50 or 100 years ago, and it becomes clear that surely...somehow these hazardous chemicals are being managed properly given that the river quality is improving.....

I'm fed up the back teeth of people saying we donít do anything important and its all just dint of circumstance.

And if you think its all about the past and the now, you probably don't realise that right now, we're working to ensure the quality of your green and pleasant land under future climate change risks fifty years in the future. I'm doing stuff today to make sure your children can enjoy cleaner rivers and better environments.

Go on then, go back to the good ol' days when rivers stank of coal tar and had no fish in them at all. Do you miss seeing frogs with no sexual organs? Do you miss seeing floating excrement in the little brooks? We produce more sewerage now than at any point in the pastÖ.but tell me truthfully the last time you saw human excrement in a river?



If it comes over as a flameÖits meant to be. It makes me SO MAD.
Donít go spouting off on stuff you donít know enough about.

post script:
bodger wrote:
Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so

Ironic, dont you think?
There are a lot of quiet, wise people out there doing important stuff . Just 'cos you dont know about it, doesnt mean its not happening.

Last edited by James on Sat Jul 25, 09 7:45 am; edited 1 time in total

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35875
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 09 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

well put james
a lot of good work has been done but there is much still to do

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35875
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 09 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

but re sewage in a river was my local colne recently due to storm water flushing the sewers through the overflows
any help appreciated
until 3 years back it was pretty clean but now it is a 4/5 low diversity water

Behemoth



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 19023
Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 09 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Agree with you both.

James



Joined: 11 Jan 2006
Posts: 2865
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 09 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dpack wrote:
...there is much still to do

there certainly is lots more still to do. Many rivers are much lower quality than they should be.
Interestingly, the most common reason for lower water quality is now agriculture. Many of the Yorkshire rivers have problems with ammonia, phosphates, permathrin and dieldrin (..as an asside here, we're not picking up any glyphosate...)
Cleaning up industrial point source pollution is a walk in the park compared to changes farming practices...
dpack wrote:
...due to storm water flushing the sewers through the overflows

Storm water overflows are a big issue, and the water co's are trying to reduce their numbers (everytime there's a pollution incident like your example, they get fined). One big advance is that all new sewers are seperate from surface water drains, so they dont get flooded in times of heavy rain. Changing infrastructure takes time and £££, but the amount of money available is somewhat dictated by the annual water co. pricing review, which has just demanded a reduction in water bills. Good news for consumers, not so good news for environmental bennefits.

Not wishing to polish Behemoth's ego or anything, but Yorkshire water are pretty good in the bigger scheme of things. Compare your Colne example to Brighton, for example, where they still have a constant raw seweage discharge dirrect into the sea.
YWS have put big money into places like Hull to ensure this type of discharge stops.

Jonnyboy



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 23924
Location: under some rain.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 09 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Our house is built near a water course and the authorities took the placement of our septic tank, it's type and the soakaway location very seriously.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 09 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I don't know the answer but I know the biggest polluter of rivers in this area isn't local industries but the water authority themselves.
Ask the people of Camelford what they think of South West Water.

mihto



Joined: 03 Feb 2008
Posts: 3273
Location: West coast of Norway
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 09 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

James, thank you.

You are spot on and your posting included so many different and highly valid aspects. The pollution sins of our fathers will follow us for generation, as will the sins of today's pollution make problems for our grandchildren.

So often highly important work is done out of the public eye. Our society does not realize that it isn't run by itself; that what we take for granted is laboriously worked on by highly skilled people behind the scenes.

The big problem arises when the politicians, in order to save money nobody know how is used anyway, take away the funding. The negative results can take years to surface, but the damage done may sometimes be irreparable.

twoscoops



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 1924
Location: Warwickshire
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 09 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

[quote="James"]
bodger wrote:
how much of it is down to a genuine effort compared to a general melt down of the countries manufacturing base


This drives me absolutely mad. I'm fed up to the back teeth of hearing this sort of comment.



If it comes over as a flameÖits meant to be. It makes me SO MAD.
Donít go spouting off on stuff you donít know enough about.

It came across to me as a question, which is what it was. I also thought it was one worth discussing, rather than getiing precious over.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 09 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

twoscoops wrote:
It came across to me as a question, which is what it was. I also thought it was one worth discussing, rather than getiing precious over.


I didn't understand the question, or to what it referred;

Quote:
Do you think that this is typical of how are rivers.

Behemoth



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 19023
Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 09 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Tavascarow wrote:
I don't know the answer but I know the biggest polluter of rivers in this area isn't local industries but the water authority themselves.
Ask the people of Camelford what they think of South West Water.


Camelford is a different issue, how many Camelfords have there been since?

And what do you mean by 'pollution', are you referreing to pollution incidents or just that effluent, treated to various levels, is returned to rivers? The south west is a challenging environment for waste treatment and an expensive one.

The draft determination of prices the other day knocked out the proposed investment on the east coast to raise bathing waters from good to excellent but the door's been left open to convince Ofwat otherwise, we have a lot of customer support to do this work.

Intermittent discharges, storm overflows are difficult to deal with manage and resolve but the industry as whole has been getting better. They have a very high priority in our company and reducing pollution incidents to zero is the target. This costs a lot of money.

On thing on the horizon is the designation of the Humber Estuary as a 'sensitive water'. This is a bureaucratic designation of some estuaries etc across the whole of Europe and requires them to meet certain standards, it has nothing to do with local ecology. If this goes through it will cost £500m (half a billion) to meet the standards. To put that in perspective out investment programme is usually about £1.5 to £1.8 billion over five years. The benefit to the environment will be marginal. As James says, diffuse pollution form agriculture has a greater effect.

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