Chemical Pollution

Chemical pollution is one of the main causes of degradation and biodiversity loss in aquatic ecosystems.

But why are chemicals such a problem for salmon, trout and their waters?

More than 300,000 inventoried/regulated chemicals are currently used in industry, household and agriculture - which ultimately end up in our waters.

While European water bodies are contaminated with complex mixtures of ten thousands of chemicals, chemical status is defined on the basis of only 45 substances.

Concentrations of chemicals in the water may not reflect the true burden on river life, as chemicals may accumulate in tissues and be passed up the food chain.

Chemicals can harm river life lethally, where exposure causes direct death, and/or sublethally, where physiological pathways and natural behaviours are disrupted.

The Bakkavor Story

Concerning chemical signatures coupled with low Gammarus numbers and mayfly species richness (identified from our Riverfly Census project) led us to investigate below the Bakkavor salad washing factory on the River Itchen.

The bed of the stream should have shown clear, un-sedimented gravel. Instead the dominant and major composition of the biological growth covering metres of the bed was filamentous algae, with some fungal component.

It was clear from our evidence that the current discharge permits were not fit for purpose to protect the river.

We took this case study on as part of our Water Action project, as we felt it highlighted a national problem. If policy is not stopping deterioration from chemicals on a protected SAC, SSSI river - what hope is there for other rivers?

We were concerned about two things:

The overnight factory wash discharge

The day time salad washing discharge

Bakkavor progress so far

2020

SPRING 2020:

Bakkavor is said to be trialling the remove of pesticides on site.

Jan: Monitoring data obtained by Freedom of Information request shows neonicotinoid, Acetamiprid, above safe concentrations

Feb: Monitoring data obtained by Freedom of Information request shows neonicotinoid, Acetamiprid, above safe concentrations

March: Monitoring data obtained by Freedom of Information request shows neonicotinoid, Acetamiprid, above safe concentrations

April: Monitoring data obtained by Freedom of Information request shows neonicotinoid, Acetamiprid, above safe concentrations

July: Freedom of Information request indicates 36 other pesticides of concern, where current lab tests cannot monitor low enough to ensure they are not causing environmental damage.

2019
2018

Chemicals - a national problem

We believe that businesses should not be allowed to damage the environment- they should return water in at least the same state as they receive it

Many historic discharge permits, for businesses still operating today, have not been revised and as a result are not fit for purpose to protect our waters.

Current monitoring* covers only a tiny fraction of the chemicals entering our waterways, ignoring biological impacts and mixture effects

SPEAR is a way of calculating chemical impact on rivers by looking at the presence and absence of water invertebrate species. Currently SPEAR is not used in the UK, but proposed boundaries to incorporate it into Water Framework Directive calculations do exist. Using our data, we are encouraging the use of SPEAR nationally in monitoring our watery places for chemicals.

*of priority substance-based chemical status according to the Water Framework Directive (WFD)

Chalkstreams should have their own classification under the Water Framework Directive

Our Bakkavor case study has demonstrated the value of invertebrate data - but for chalkstreams it has highlighted that current designations are not good enough to protect them from chemical damage.

Archive

Thirty-six toxic pesticides washed into headwaters of SAC chalkstream

23/07/2020
Bakkavör washing unknown quantities of thirty-six toxic pesticides, which present real danger to aquatic life, into headwaters of SAC chalkstream Following on from our recent release about dangerous quantities of toxic neonicotinoid Acetamiprid being washed off salad leaves into the headwaters of a protected chalkstream, a further freedom of Information (FOI) request proves this is just […] Read More

Toxic neonicotinoid washed off salad leaves into protected chalkstream

23/06/2020
Toxic neonicotinoid washed off salad leaves into protected chalkstream exceeds acceptable concentrations by up to 400%. NEWS RELEASE 23 June 2020 Data from a recent Freedom of Information request by Salmon & Trout Conservation shows that levels of Acetamiprid, a pesticide discharged by Bakkavör plc into the Upper Itchen catchment[1], have regularly exceeded acceptable concentrations. […] Read More

Bakkavör plc must now end pollution of Upper Itchen

17/02/2020
Bakkavör plc must now end pollution of Upper Itchen “Continued pollution unnecessary and unacceptable.”  NEWS RELEASE 13 Feb 2020 Sustained pressure from S&TC has resulted in Bakkavör plc finding a solution that should effectively end their pollution of the Upper Itchen, but twenty months after S&TC first complained to the EA we are still waiting […] Read More

Discharges from salad washing – Update

31/07/2019
Salad washing on the Upper Itchen: A local problem with national significance… Nick Measham , Deputy CEO, S&TC writes……. S&TC’s battle to stop Bakkavör discharging pesticides and chlorinated plant-cleaning chemicals from its salad washing activities is achieving increased environmental protection, and not just for the Upper Itchen. [Previously covered by BBC Countryfile] As a result […] Read More

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