Pollution Tracing Surveys

Organisation: Various (incl. APEM, the Environment Agency & various Rivers Trusts)
Location: National
Type: Tools & approaches

Several organisations have now developed walk-over survey methodologies for locating sediment pollution in river catchments. The exact methodologies involved vary, but they all involve walking along watercourses (usually in wet weather), looking for sediment or other pollution entering the watercourse and tracing it back to its source in the landscape. Once sources of pollution  have been identified, interventions can be delivered to mitigate them or disconnect the pollution pathway carrying pollutants to the watercourse. It is important to note that these surveys give a very quick snap-shot of the situation in a catchment (which by their nature are highly transient) and solutions must be enacted immediately to ensure success.

Perhaps the most extensive surveys of this kind have been undertaken by APEM on behalf of the Environment Agency. The APEM methodology has now been used by them and others to assess over 14,000km of river in  the UK and they now offer training in the application of this method. APEM have recently developed the approach to  identify  diffuse urban pollution and have worked in partnership with Healthy Waterways Trust to trial the approach.
In addition, a number of other groups have developed their own versions of this approach to river corridor assessment.



The Catchment-Based Approach website is designed to showcase the work of catchment partnerships aross England and Wales and to encourage the sharing and adoption of best practice in stakeholder-led catchment managment planning, delivery and evaluation.


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