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UK: 'Drain detectives' carry out pollution checks in Bideford

Misconnections range from domestic washing machines mistakenly plumbed into surface water drains...

The Environment Agency is taking to the streets of Bideford, this month, checking for signs of pollution.

Specialist contractors will carry out a detailed inspection of the town's drains in the bid to pinpoint possible sources of pollution including misconnections that might be impacting on water quality in the Torridge estuary. The 'lift and look' survey includes methods such as dye tracing and the taking of water samples.

Misconnections range from domestic washing machines mistakenly plumbed into surface water drains to factories, restaurants, hotels and schools discharging sewage into surface water systems instead of sewers.

Andrea Summers for the Environment Agency
"This investigation work provides an excellent opportunity for us to identify, trace and stop pollution from a variety of sources. Misconnections are often difficult to pinpoint and can remain hidden for years,'.

'Once a misconnection is discovered we work with other agencies including water companies, local authorities, businesses and private homeowners to put it right. Each solved misconnection helps improve water quality in our rivers and streams and is great news for the environment,".
Property owners worried about a possible misconnection or needing help with a sewer connection can obtain advice from their local district council. or visit
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/pollution or http://www.connectright.org.uk

The Bideford survey is part of an Urban Diffuse Pollution Investigation Project headed by the Environment Agency and follows similar pollution investigations in Torbay, Truro, Newton Abbot and Plymouth.