Salmons Brook – Healthy River Challenge

Polluted rivers of East London given a boost

Thames21 has been awarded £341,000 to create systems that mimic nature to treat the polluted water washed into the Salmons Brook every time it rains.

The Salmons Brook is a tributary of the River Lea, which starts in the north west of the London Borough of Enfield, and is one of the most polluted rivers in the UK. It suffers from contamination from oily water washed off roads, silt and muck that goes down the drains, and chemicals like paints.

The project will build on the Love the Lea campaign, and work with volunteers to actively implement a range of filtering and trapping systems such as reed beds and gravel trenches to intercept storm water before it can poison the river.

Another problem besetting the Salmons Brook is waste water from people’s homes going down the wrong pipes and into the environment. Dirty water from washing machines, dishwashers, toilets and bathrooms should go into the sewers. Instead some waste pipes have been misconnected to drain pipes that take rainwater to the river.

Local people will be key in helping identify these pollution sources, testing water quality and in helping to accurately measure successful pollution prevention. Citizen science will play a big part in monitoring the health of the Salmons Brook, and will help establish the data needed to understand how diffuse urban pollution damages local rivers, and the best ways of reducing it. Scientific data will also be collated during the project in collaboration with University College London to enable wider uptake of sustainable solutions in UK.

This three year project will install six bio-retention systems with the key support of local people, who will continue to maintain and manage these features into the future.

The Salmons Brook Health River Challenge will be funded by Defra’s Catchment Restoration Fund, and is being run in co-operation with London Borough of Enfield and the Environment Agency.

To get involved, or for further information, contact Theo Thomas/ 07968 012 828