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England's First Water Quality Relay

We Did It!

More than 100 people took part in the world's first paddle boarding relay to monitor quality of England's rivers.

The 28-day challenge tested water quality every 5km during a 642km relay that started in Surrey on September 11 and finished in Cumbria on October 8.

A remarkable 420 water quality readings were gathered and documented in Planet Patrol’s cutting-edge app, giving a near real-time view into water health across the country.

The data revealed a staggering 83% of waterways tested showed evidence of sewage pollution, surpassing the established threshold levels of coliform bacteria deemed safe for human bathing.

Results also showed 74% of the testing sites failed to meet current phosphate standards, with alarming rates observed in the River Thames (93% failure rate) and the River Wey (88% failure rate).

Additionally, elevated levels of nitrates were recorded at 42% of the sites. Nitrates and phosphates, common forms of nutrient pollution stemming from wastewater treatment, sewage, and agriculture, pose severe threats to aquatic environments. These pollutants can contribute to harmful algal blooms and oxygen depletion in the water, posing risks to both biodiversity and public health

85%

of Colifform tests failed

41.7%

of Nitrates tests failed

75%

of Phosphate tests were above safe limits

22%

of pH readings outside tolerable range

The results - a birds eye view

Our volunteer community scientists scrutinized five water quality parameters, including coliform bacteria, phosphates, pH, nitrites and nitrates, creating a comprehensive map of water quality across the UK.

Explore the image gallery to see each of the results plotted along the route on the map.

For an in-depth look at the results, dive into our latest blog post.

Swipe to view maps, or click the arrows

Sign up now to become a water tester

Join us in our commitment to citizen science water quality testing and help safeguard the environment for future generations.

We’re running out of time and citizen science plays a vital role, helping fill knowledge gaps left by a 83% reduction in water quality monitoring over the last eleven years. We need to understand the true extent of the problem so it can be accurately understood, communicated and acted upon before the damage is irreversible.

You don’t need a scientific background. Your involvement will give us the insights needed to push for more ambitious standards for water quality across the UK.

Register your interest in being a part of this groundbreaking programme by filling out the form.

Interested in reading our 2022 water testing pilot study, What Lies Beneath? Click here

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