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  • John Cornick

Water Pollution: Poorly treated sewage and agricultural ‘run off’ … are you part of the problem?

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

The over development (house building) and resulting population growth along the South Coast of England is having a devastating effect on both our terrestrial (fresh water) & marine (sea water), aquatic environments. Excessive discharges of nitrates and phosphates, from poorly treated sewage and agricultural fertiliser ‘run-off’, or leaching, are entering our streams, rivers, estuaries and ultimately our coastal waters.

Excessive discharges or ‘run-off’ of these two most ‘essential’ of plant nutrients is overloading both surface and ground waters and ultimately, our coastal marine waters. The resulting over-supply of nutrients is causing ‘eutrophication’ in both inland and coastal aquatic environments.

Eutrophication is defined as “over-dense growth of aquatic plants, both fresh-water & marine” and it results in an over profusion of plant growth, called “blooms”. Algal blooms can be toxic to aquatic life and over the past 10 years the Solent has experienced algal blooms virtually every summer.

How is this being addressed by government and local council planning and environmental teams?

All new planning applications, where off-mains sewage treatment and discharge is required, such as self-build, rural developments, camping, and glamping etc will be required to mitigate nitrogen discharges.

All new developments that cannot be connected to the main or ‘public’ sewers are now required to reduce, or “mitigate” their nitrogen discharges by paying local farmers to take land out of production and plant trees on it!

It is a total sham of-course because the largest polluters are the Water Companies. Southern Water paid £120 million in fines last year for illegal discharges of sewage into our coastal waters. Water companies need to invest massively to increase sewage treatment capacity in-line with house building. Obviously, a case of two Government departments not talking to each other!

How can you deal with this at your property or business premises?

JDC environmental Contractors design and install constructed wetlands (reed beds or gravel-bed hydroponic systems) which “polish” final treated sewage/wastewater discharges thus further reducing levels of nitrogen before the ‘flows’ enter our ditches, streams, rivers, estuaries and ultimately the seas. Constructed wetlands, reed beds or gravel bed hydroponic systems provide a natural, ecologically sound and cost effective method of reducing nitrogen from final treated sewage discharges or agricultural run-off.

If you would like to review and devise a ‘best practice’ solution for your business or property, we would love to talk to you. We work on projects large- and small-scale including holiday parks, caravan parks, camping sites, glamping sites, industrial and agricultural locations as well as with many small businesses and residential clients.

Please get in touch for chat and thanks for reading our latest blog.

John Cornick BSc (Hons) EnvBiol, AMRSB, NDA

Business Owner and Projects Manager

JDC Environmental Contractors

Tel: 0800 029 1593


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