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Waterways: Pollution

Volume 709: debated on Wednesday 25 March 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they intend to take to reduce the pollution of the waters of the River Fal in Cornwall; and whether they will investigate the causes of the continued apparent decline of its water quality. [HL2153]

The Environment Agency collects monthly samples of water from the River Fal Estuary in Cornwall to assess the quality of the water. These samples do not indicate that the estuary is polluted or that water quality is declining overall.

However, during heavy rainfall, run-off from fields which may contain slurry and from overloaded sewers can have localised and short-term impacts. The Environment Agency is therefore working with farmers to ensure that farm management plans are in place to prevent and minimise the degree of run-off to the estuary during heavy rain.

Significant investment by South West Water has also been made in the sewage systems which discharge into the estuary. Each main sewage works has full treatment facilities, which include the use of ultra violet disinfection in recognition of the potential impact of bacterial contamination on shellfish beds.