"A Clear Future for our River"

Monthly Archives: August 2017

Local community & Streamclean team helps clean up the Dippy

BART are so pleased to hear that after we have put the fantastic Friends of the Somerset River Frome in touch with contacts at Wessex Water regarding repeat sewage pollution events, their Streamclean team has been out and about identifying a number of misconnections which will mean a reduction in sewage entering the Dippy Brook and subsequently the Somerset Frome. Thanks to all involved – a great example of how community efforts really do make a difference as well as how the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership can work together to make on the ground differences.


A specialist team is helping to protect the Dippy, the valley between Culver Hill and Adderwell in Frome, by tracing sources of watercourse pollution.

Operation Streamclean is dedicated to investigating drainage misconnections and the misuse of surface water drainage to reduce pollution in streams and rivers across the region.

Equipped with CCTV, dye testing and sampling equipment, the team proactively investigate, trace and prove the source of pollutions to watercourses.

One of their recent surveys discovered that dirty water from eight sinks, three toilets, three washing machines and one shower from residential and commercial properties was discharging into the watercourse due to the pipes being misconnected to the surface water drain.

Dirty water going down the wrong drain from car wash valets was also adding to the problem.

Streamclean co-ordinator Larry Spiers explained that misconnections are the most common cause of pollution in urban watercourses.

He said: “Problems occur when household appliances such as washing machines have been misconnected to the surface water system, which leads to foul water being discharged into streams without being treated.

“This damages the environment and could be a potential health hazard.”

Properties typically have two separate drainage systems – a foul sewer system, which collects water from appliances and takes it to the local sewage treatment works, and the surface water drainage system which collects rainwater and discharges it into local streams.

“It is the responsibility of home owners to ensure the correct drains are used to take wastewater away from their property,” Larry explained.

“We’re more than happy to provide advice on what needs to be done to protect the environment.”

As part of the same investigation, the team also traced heating oil to a tank that was leaking into the ground and subsequently into a sewer that discharges into the Dippy.

Most residents were unaware of the misconnections and have since made changes within their property following our advice.

More information about misconnections can be found here


See the original link here.

Unfortunately, as we write this we have become aware of a severe pollution event on another of our rivers. A lot more work to do but by working together we’ll keep making improvements!

Vote for the ‘Our Wonderful Wellow’ Project in Tesco stores!

BART are delighted to have got through to the voting stage for Tesco’s Bags of Help Green token scheme, funded by the carrier bag tax.

Your vote can help us to raise funds to restore habitat in an urban stretch of the Wellow Brook through Radstock. This stretch supports small and declining populations of brown trout and bullhead, amongst other species, and has suitable substrate capable of supporting greater fish numbers. However, straightening and modification of the river has resulted in minimal habitat diversity and low flows, which are insufficient to flush out sediment. This sediment smothers gravels to the detriment of spawning trout and invertebrates. The funding would allow us to construct a series of flow deflecting structures using woody material won from coppicing banksides to let light into the river. These structures concentrate flows onto the riverbed which flushes out sediment, as well as providing a variety of flows essential for different species and life stages of fish.

This work will link up with our wider Wellow and Cam initiative which seeks to address issues along the length of the Wellow and Cam Brooks.

Please keep an eye out for us in stores around Bath in September and October. More info here:

BART help to develop new app on river health

BART have recently been helping a local company called Epimorphics to gain an understanding of how best to display river health data for use by conservationists and members of the public. Mihajlo kindly wrote us a piece on the project below with some helpful links with details of the app:

My name is Mihajlo Milosavljevic, I am an intern at the company called Epimorphics working on the development of an android application called myRivers.
myRivers is a simple way of browsing detailed river pollution reports in the UK. It provides users with three map layers all showcasing a different dataset provided by the Environment Agency. Three layers include reports of river catchment quality, water quality and pollution discharge permits.
Throughout the project we have benefited enormous support from BART Project Officers. During our meetings with their team we have managed to gather valuable domain specific feedback which made a big impact to the design and functionality of the application. Out main goal was development of a tool that can be useful to anyone interested in the quality of the UK rivers but also a tool that provides detailed reports that can be found useful by the experts in this area such as the members of the Rivers Trust. The application is now available on the Google Play Store and can also be found using this link.

myRivers can be downloaded from the Google app store from the link in the above quote.

Thanks to the Mihajlo and the Epimorphics team for their hard work in making river health data more accessible!

Citizen science monitoring resources

Thank you so much to everyone who has taken part in our Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership funded Freshwater Watch citizen science project over the last year, from those of you who sampled during the one week Waterblitz, to those farmers, community groups, schools and Riverfly monitors who sampled throughout the year. We have received an amazing amount of data on phosphates and nitrates (over 450 samples!) and we couldn’t have collected all of this without you. We will be analysing the data as soon as we receive it all, so watch this space to find out the results!

Thanks to all of our volunteers for their water quality monitoring efforts

Unfortunately we have now run out of test kits so are unable to provide anymore until we can find another funder to continue the project. We are still getting a number of requests from landowners, fishing clubs and individuals to monitor which is fantastic and if you are interested in doing your own monitoring, we recommend taking a look at the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) Citizen Science and Volunteering Monitoring Resources document here. It details some of the most recommended kits looking at a variety of water quality variables including oxygen concentration, phosphates and nitrates and many others.

An example of some of the monitoring kits recommended by CaBA and reviewed by several Rivers Trusts around the country.

If you are a community group or club, BART may be able to help you raise funds in order to purchase monitoring equipment. Do get in touch with our Project Manager if this is an opportunity you would like us to explore – harriet@bristolavonriverstrust.org