The rivers in East London’s Lea Valley are among the most polluted in Britain. The Lea, Salmons Brook, the Pymmes Brook, Turkey Brook, the Rivers Ching and Moselle and the Stonebridge Brook are being damaged by sewage, household chemicals and oil on a daily basis.
Water quality tests carried out by Thames21 and University College London show the amount of faecal e-coli bacteria in the Lea can exceed international standards by more than 40 times. This is from the sewage washed into the river after heavy rainfall – Deephams Sewage Treatment Works in Edmonton overflows discharging millions of tonnes of wastewater into the River Lea. An area of green space in London the size of twenty two Hyde Parks has been paved over in recent years seeing more and more rain go down the drain and cause problems.
The toilets from thousands of homes are adding to this damage by sending waste down pipes only meant for rainwater that lead to rivers.
Oil and chemicals on our roads also get washed into rivers every time it rains, adding another dose of poisons to the water.
Love the Lea Action
Love the Lea is proposing 3 Big Solutions that will improve the health of the Lower Lea’s rivers into the future.
We need to keep rainwater out of the sewers. Deephams Sewage Treatment Works is to be upgraded by 2021 which will see it meet higher standards. But North East London’s population will keep growing as will the amount of rain getting into sewers.
To make sure Deephams has enough space to treat sewage long after 2021, East London needs to build a comprehensive network of natural drainage systems in parks, next to roads, blocks of flats and at all new developments. These will cut the amount of rainwater that enters the sewers, reducing sewage overflows to rivers. The Greater London Authority’s Drain London must lead on this working out where the SuDS can go.
Love the Lea Projects
Salmons Brook – Healthy River Challenge
The Salmons Brook Healthy River Challenge aims to improve the water quality in the Salmons Brook Catchment using Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). Six SuDS will be created tacking road run off and cleaning polluted streams by passing them through a series of wetlands.
Fixing Broken Rivers
The Fixing Broken Rivers Project focuses on the water pollution of the rivers in the Lea Catchment. This three year HSBC funded project will engage local young people in an education programme, introduce new reedbeds to these rivers to process the pollution, and create sustainable drainage systems.
Greenstreets is a partnership project that aims to demonstrate how measures to address road pollution and flooding in a local area can be identified, designed and installed and maintained with community participation.
You can catch up with the Love the Lea Campaign and projects here
Why the River Lea needs your Love
Download our poster and help spread the word
What you can do
To support the campaign actions above:
- Sign the Pledge to Love the Lea
- Download and share our handy Love the Lea tips and help reduce river pollution
For more information please call the Love the Lea team on 0207 515 3337