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Monthly News Round Up: July

Aquatiere have filtered through the headlines to bring you a news round up for July. Read on for the latest developments in water filtration, conservation and innovation.


Unlimited Fines for Polluters

Polluters will now face unlimited penalties for the damage they cause to the environment. The Government has confirmed that Environment Agency (EA) and Natural England will be able to impose fines above the current cap of £250,000. The removal of the fine limit will enable regulators to target polluters on a wider range of offenses, from breaches of storm overflow permits to the incorrect disposal of hazardous waste.

Yorkshire Water £235000 Civil Sanction

Yorkshire Water breached its environmental permit with an unsanctioned sewage discharge, which polluted Hookstone Beck. An Enforcement Undertaking was accepted by the Environment Agency, from Yorkshire Water. Enforcement Undertakings are a way that companies and individuals can make amends for their offenses. Usually these come in the form of a donation to a wildlife or environmental charity to improve the local area.

Environmental Performance Assessment shows Improvement

The Environment Agency’s annual report has shown some modest improvements to water company ratings. The Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) report compared the performance of England’s nine water companies from 2021 to 2022 against a 4 star rating. In summary, four companies have remained the same, three have gained a star and two have lost a star. Here are the results:

Severn Trent Water – 4 stars, the same as 2021

Northumbrian Water – 3 stars, 4 stars in 2021

United Utilities – 3 stars, 4 stars in 2021

Yorkshire Water – 3 stars, 2 stars in 2021

Anglian Water – 2 stars, the same as 2021

Thames Water – 2 stars, the same as 2021

Wessex Water – 2 stars, the same as 2021

Southern Water – 2 stars, 1 star 2021

South West Water – 2 stars, 1 star 2021

The Seagulls are to blame!

Southern Water has been investigating a decrease in water quality in Hampshire. If nothing is done to fix the issue Southsea Beach could receive a water quality rating of poor. Portsmouth council says there are no sewage leaks in the area but Southern Water have suggested seagulls could be the problem. Birds roosting on the pier at the popular seaside spot, may be the cause of the traces of e.coli found in recent samples. However, the exact source of the e.coli bacteria is yet to be determined. The seagulls may or may not be to blame!


Innovative Coastal Defence Doubles as Habitat

The Newlyn Coastal Research & Development Project is testing out new ways of protecting coastal communities while at the same time improving habitats for coastal biodiversity. The blocks are covered in various patterns and designed to provide a foothold for flora and fauna such as algae to cling to. Each block therefore becomes a mini habitat. Good luck to this award worthy project!


Lead found in School Tap Water

Unicef has estimated that 213,702 children in the UK could have levels of lead in their blood at over 5 micrograms per litre. Over which the WHO suggest an intervention is required. It is estimated that a further 29,036 children have lead in their blood at levels of over 10 micrograms per litre. These figures came from a series of tests carried out at around 30 schools over the last decade. The most recent high level lead incident was at a school in Edinburgh earlier this year.

Europe is taking control of lead in drinking water. The UK have yet to put a plan into action, despite recommendations made by the Drinking Water Inspectorate in their 2021 report.


Northumbrian Water’s Innovation Festival 2023

Newcastle Racecourse played host to more than a thousand school pupils last week, plus thousands of innovators from businesses across the globe. Northumbrian Water’s Innovation Festival 2023 takes place across 4 days. The event showcases new ideas and solutions to problems faced by the water industry.

Over a thousand young people from schools across the Tyneside area joined in the problem solving activities. Students involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects were proving themselves to be the innovation stars of the future.

The event concentrated on key topics from; reduction of leaks within the water network, employment opportunities in the sector and how local authorities and water companies can create a cohesive system for flooding reportage.

The organisers were pleased with the attendance numbers. Even more so with the ambitions and ideas circulating during the event. Their hope is that innovative solutions to today’s water problems will be put into action as a result of events like these.

That’s all for this month’s news round up. Check back in August, for more on conservation news and technology updates…