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River Thames: Pollution

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the level of risk to the health and safety of swimmers and boaters from the discharge of sewage into the Thames in the area of Mogden, Isleworth on 3 July 2009. (288785)

The Environment Agency manages the chemical environmental quality of the upper Thames estuary; there are no stipulated microbiological standards that are applied in the upper reaches.

Water quality assessment is based on the level of dissolved oxygen in the river which is important for protecting fish in the estuary.

Matters relating to public health are directed to the London Port Health Authority which provides advice and guidance on river usage involving public contact with water.

As part of the Environment Agency’s protocol for managing pollution incidents on the Thames estuary, the London Port Health Authority is routinely informed of significant sewage-related incidents. This is to ensure that any necessary precautionary information can be made available to the public and this was the case in this incident.

There are no designated bathing waters that would have been affected by the discharges from the locations in west London.