Rising waste levels killing wildlife, damaging ecosystem
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/14/2012 -- The proliferation of do-it-yourself television programs and websites is being blamed for an increase in the amount of raw sewage flowing into rivers other waterways in the United Kingdom.
The shows and websites are inspiring homeowners to attempt repairs and upgrades themselves. By doing so, they hope to avoid costs of employing a professional contractor to do the work for them. As a result, many of these projects are not being finished correctly. That is causing raw sewage to flow unabated into Britain's groundwater and coastal waterways.
According to the Marine Conservation Society, the growing problem is causing the degradation of the country's smaller rivers . In turn, the degradation is threatening invertebrate ecosystems and depleting fish stocks, including salmon, trout, perch and pike.
According to Thames Water, one in every 10 homes now have incorrectly connected drains in its service area, which serves 14 million customers in London and the Thames Valley.
Thames Water says it has identified 3,170 properties in the area that have plumbing misconnections since 2010. The lacking connections are resulting in spilling enough waste to fill approximately 16 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
A warning issued in 2009 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) stated that more than 300,000 properties within England and Wales had misconnected pipes, with a potential of 500,000 possible by mid-decade.
Some experts say that the problem could become much worse because of the increase in people making plumbing repairs on their own.
Marine Conservation Society pollution program manager Dr. Robert Keirle says that as doing it yourself "has become more popular over the years, aided by an explosion in property programs on television, the problem has been growing. People see a pipe, think it's the right one to attach to, and untreated water from washing machines, but also toilets, ends up going to the wrong place.”
"It is also probably a result of the times we live in, with people unable to afford to call in tradesmen to do the plumbing," said Keirle.
As an example, the Chess River, which runs from Chesham, Buckinghamshire, has been adversely affected by plumbing misconnections. Ten locations along the river, from Chesham to Rickmansworth, are now being fly-monitored for raw sewage by the River Chess Association.
Fly monitoring is used to assess the biological water quality of the body of water through the notation of fly populations that appear in the area. The monitoring will detect water quality fluctuations and allow the organization to report problems to the Environment Agency for further study.
Thames Water says that more than 400 properties with misconnections have been identified in one London borough and are awaiting enforcement.
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