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Ian Midgley

BSc (Hons) Environmental Protection, Bournemouth University, 2004

Is it possible to identify the sources of non-point pollution adversely affecting water quality within the Bourne stream, Bournemouth?  Can the issues be addressed?


This research project aims to locate non-point sources of pollution which are adversely affecting the water quality of the Bourne Stream, Bournemouth, Dorset.  As the stream discharges into Bournemouth bay any poor water quality affects the chances of Bournemouth Beach reaching the guideline standards of the EC Bathing Water Directive.  This is important to Bournemouth Borough Council as these must be met to achieve Blue Flag status and increase the profile Bournemouth tourism industry.

Investigations have previously been carried out into point source and non-point source discharges using funding from the Environment Agencies Research and Development budget.  Sustainable Urban Drainage systems have also been implemented but problems still occur suggesting that they must arise from a non-point source.

This project was based around chemical sampling of the stream water quality, allowing areas with regular or recurring issues to be identified.  Once these areas had been selected the area around the stream was examined to find possible causes of the lowered water quality.

Water quality was tested for eight parameters on four different occasions, after statistical evaluation of the results three areas with problems were identified.  None of these areas had the same problem during each sampling session but levels of determinants were high and seemed to reflect differing discharges. 

Management techniques to deal with the problems have been identified based on the problem parameters and on cost versus benefits basis.  These suggestions range from public education to the use of sustainable urban drainage techniques.

Download paper (PDF 390kb)

Success: Thanks to Ian's study, and specific problems recognised at Prince of Wales Road, partner organisation Wessex Water have managed to identify illegal grey- and black-water misconnections from new-build properties in the area; subsequently a significant source of illegal organic pollution of the Bourne stream has now been rectified.

Please note:  a member of Bournemouth Borough Council's Technical Services Team would like to point out in response to some of the suggestions in Ian's paper:

a) mention is made of road grit having chemical properties that affect stream quality. Grit is washed material from a local Avon Valley gravel supplier and will be of a siliceous base and also inert. It is mixed with road salt to add traction once snow has fallen. Road salt is used at different spreading rates prior to snow fall and it is this that will generate some chlorine based compounds in the natural water environment when flushed out of gulley pots by rainfall.

b) mention is made of the Bourne Stream flowing into storm tanks at the Pier Approach area. The Bourne Stream does not enter any storm tanks at all, it either enters the combined storm overflow from Bournemouth No.1 Pumping Station in dry weather, or in heavy rainfall, is diverted over a weir into the short concrete Bourne Stream culvert on the east side of the Pier. The Wessex Storm Tanks are used to receive consented discharges from Bournemouth No.1 Pumping Station when there is no capacity in the Coastal Interceptor Tunnel Sewer that is used to provide storm storage combined with storm storage at Holdenhurst STW.

Contact the author: thenorthernmonkey@hotmail.com

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