BART are working on a catchment scale to address the sources of pollution impacting the Bristol Frome. The Only Rain Down the Drain engagement project aimed to educate businesses on the impacts of waste disposal, drainage mis-connections and poor chemical storage practices to improve water quality in the river.
Water quality investigations undertaken by BART in 2019 identified point source pollution from industrial estates and businesses, finding its way into the watercourse through urban drainage systems. The “Only Rain Down the Drain” project was funded by the Environment Agency and the primary aim was to engage with local businesses, provide guidance about best practice and demonstrate how to reduce impacts to the river by implementing simple changes.
Joined by Wessex Water’s StreamClean team, BART engaged with businesses on two trading estates to raise awareness of the links between drainage networks and rivers and the small steps that can be taken to reduce water pollution. The team were able to assess drainage from buildings to ensure waste water (from appliances or industrial machines) was not ending up in the surface water system and discharging into the river. We supplied businesses with advice on how to store chemicals to prevent leaking into surface drains, dispose of waste water correctly and reduce the impacts of litter on the river.
BART engaged with 45 businesses, forming positive relationships with local business owners, whilst providing them with guidance on how to reduce their impacts on the local river and wider environment. Through investigations, we were able to identify drainage misconnections, misuse and bad practice which are potential sources of pollution on the Bristol Frome. These included:
- Waste water drainage from appliances connected to storm water pipes, taking contaminated ‘grey water’ to the river
- A vehicle cleaning area taking waste water into the surface drainage instead of the foul sewers
- Chemical storage containers leaking oils and paints into the surface drains
- Lack of a bund in a chemical storage area, enabling harmful chemicals to enter surface drains
- Blocked drains causing foul water to overflow and drain into the surface drainage system.
BART also carried out an advisory visit to a local golf course which has drainage ditches and waterways connected to the Bristol Frome. An advisory report that promotes a “greener” golf course was created and shared with the owners.
BART continue to explore opportunities to roll the project out elsewhere within the Bristol Frome catchment and wider river catchments, with the aim of reducing pollution and improving water quality.
To find out more about the project or for information on how your business can help protect the local river please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.