Water quality improves in Scotland

A drop in Scottish water pollution has been credited to factors as diverse as greater public interest in the environment and investment in sewage treatment schemes.

According to the latest statistics published by SEPA under the banner of Scotland’s Water Environment Review 2000-2006, water quality north of the border is already good and is still improving.

The review brings together environmental water data from rivers, estuaries, coasts and lochs and analyses the probable causes of chances in quality.

“In 2000 SEPA set itself targets for reducing water pollution levels by 2006”, said Brian Cowan, SEPA’s senior environmental quality officer.

“The assessment of water quality and trends is a substantial task and an important indication of the health of the water environment.

“The information in the report is based on monitoring from over 4,000 riverine sites, around 1,500 coastal and transitional sites, 200 lochs and over 250 groundwater sites across Scotland.”

The year-on-year fluctuations caused by uncontrollable factors such as rainfall do not mask the overall long-term improvements in the water environment that can be attributed to a range of factors.

According to SEPA these include investment in new sewage treatment schemes and improved sewerage infrastructure, improved levels of effluent treatment by industrial operators and continuing work to minimise diffuse pollution from agricultural and urban sources.

New legislation and increased public awareness and reporting of incidents are also flagged up as positive influences.

“Much remains to be done to bring the quality of all waters up to desired standards,” said Mr Cowan.

“The requirements of new European legislation will mean controls and regulations for abstractions and engineering works that impact on ecological quality; activities which have not previously been subject to direct regulation.”

A copy of the review can be downloaded by following the link

Sam Bond

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