Wessex Water team tackles misconnection pollution
A specialist team from Wessex Water is helping improve the environment in Bristol by tracing sources of watercourse pollution caused by drainage misconnections.
Operation Streamclean is a team dedicated to investigating misconnections and is run by Wessex Water 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.
A recent investigation saw the team survey more than 3,000 properties close to the Brislington Brook in Bristol. They found that dirty water from 173 washing machines, 92 dishwashers, 157 kitchen sinks, 116 washing basins, 53 baths, 52 showers and 66 toilets was discharging into the brook.
After having drains tested, 255 properties were found to have had misconnections to the surface water drain. Most residents were unaware appliances were misconnected and have since made changes within their property following advice from Wessex Water.
Larry Spiers, Streamclean co-ordinator at Wessex Water, said: “Misconnections are the most common cause of pollution in urban watercourses.
“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.
Spiers added: “It is the responsibility of home owners to ensure the correct drains are used to take waste water away from their property. We’re more than happy to provide advice on what needs to be done to protect the environment.”
The company said that work to identify potential sources of pollution is particularly important during Bristol’s year as European Green Capital.
Andrew Garrad, chairman of Bristol 2015, which is leading the delivery of some of the year’s activities, said: “It is initiatives such as this one that really help to improve the local environment.
“Once unsuspecting homeowners are alerted to the potential problem, there is a willingness by people to do something about it to ensure we achieve high environmental standards in the city.
“That willingness to make a difference is something we’ve seen through our Do 15 in 15 campaign, which encourages people across the city to pledge their support for Bristol’s year as Green Capital and commit to do something to help make our city a healthier, happier city for everyone.”
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