‘High levels’ of faecal bacteria found in the River Kent near Kendal

Activists say bacteria levels peaked near Staveley treatment works overflow pipe

High levels of faecal bacteria have been found in a Lake District river, campaigners claim.

Samples from the River Kent near Kendal suggested pollution peaked near sewage treatment plants in Staveley, the Clean River Kent Campaign (CRKC) said.

The band’s Sheila Adam said the results made her “very anxious”.

Water company United Utilities (UU) said the work was “not necessary to remove bacteria” because the river is not designated for swimming.

But Ms Adams said there was a health risk to people going into the water.

“Families come to picnic by the river, play in the river and small children go paddling,” she said.

UU praised the group’s research and said it supported its application for bathing water status.

People walking along the bank of the River Kent near the Staveley overflow pipe

Activists said families often go into the water

The River Kent is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of ​​Conservation (SAC).

The CRKC carried out water quality monitoring at six locations on the river between Staveley and Sedgwick from February to September.

He said no organization had assessed faecal bacterial pollution in the River Kent before.

“The water samples were collected under a rigorous protocol by trained citizen scientists and analyzed in an accredited laboratory for E. coli and Enterococcus spp. [bacteria found in the faeces of humans],” It said.

“The results show that at the six locations, the water quality of the river was rated as poor [the worst category] due to high levels of both faecal bacterial pathogens.”

The Environment Agency has been contacted for comment.

Dr Gill Notman, senior lecturer in marine and freshwater conservation at the University of Cumbria, said only 4% of SSSI rivers in the Lake District park were in favorable condition.

“We must take urgent action to stop the continued decline of our precious resources by unacceptable levels of pollution from various sources, including sewage treatment works, agriculture and septic systems,” she said. declared.

Parish councilor Arthur Capstick described the situation as “appalling”.

He said: “It makes us angry and frustrated that we are in 2022 and this is still happening.

“There doesn’t seem to be a response from officials.”

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