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Grantham's River Witham is sadly not averse to pollution

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Grantham Journal fishing writer Dave Coster says a national campaign to clean up our rivers is gathering momentum.

It has been reported that water and sewerage companies are being investigated by the Environment Agency, who are assessing the activities of more than 2,000 sites which might have broken the law by releasing pollution into rivers.

This is not normally permitted. It’s only supposed to happen as a safeguard when using storm overflow systems during heavy rain, to prevent contaminated water backing up into homes.

The Upper River Witham at Foston Ford. (55014392)
The Upper River Witham at Foston Ford. (55014392)

Sewerage and pollution are not a recent problem. Journal angling correspondent Dave Coster remembers fishing the River Lea in London more than 30 years ago, just below where an effluent stream ran into the navigation at Tottenham.

He caught some great fish by casting over to the mouth of a clean water stream opposite, but found when he retained them in a keep net on the towpath side, they quickly became stressed by the dirty water running in close by. He returned his catch and could see all the fish making bow-waves across to the less polluted far side. The pollution was so bad the varnish on Dave's float began to disintegrate.

Sadly, pollution has caused quite a few problems around this area. It was not that long ago when the lower River Witham suffered a serious problem, killing more than 100,000 fish, but that was caused by a lorry spilling its contents.

Local rumour has it a similar incident went almost unnoticed on the upper river near Foston back in the 1990s, where oil escaped into the water, killing many prime fish according Grantham Angling Association anglers.

Yet another local river, the Slea or Kyme Eau as it is called, which runs from Sleaford down to South Kyme, was badly polluted by pesticide back in 2003, wiping out another 100,000 fish.

Getting back to water companies, most metered customers will find they are charged more for sewerage disposal than for the fresh water they pay for. Surely, if sewerage and other used water is not being treated correctly, Trading Standards should look into this? Are we paying for a service that is not being properly provided?

l You can see more of Dave Coster’s angling exploits at fishingmagic.com

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