Essex Rivers Hub

Prittle Brook runs through an area with many houses and businesses. This means that the water quality is impacted by urban runoff, which includes anything that is disposed of down outside drains such as those along roads, pavements and in gardens.

There is also a problem with bad practice when it comes to installing new bathrooms and kitchens or even plumbing in washing machines, these are refered to as MisconnectionsSometimes they are not plumbed into the foul water sewer, as they should be, they are instead plumbed into the surface water sewer. This means the dirty water doesn't go to the sewage treatment works as it should, instead it goes directly to the local river.

Not everyone is aware that whatever is put down a road/street or garden drain goes directly to the river and therefore is not treated before it enters the local river. This means that whatever enters that drain will impact directly on the water quality of people’s local rivers, brooks, etc. People need to be aware that when they dispose of car oil, cooking oils, cleaning products, paint, etc. down the street drain or the drain in their garden it is very likely that those pollutants will go directly to their nearby river, possibly the one they like to walk along and let their dog swim in, etc. All of these substances have a huge impact on the species that can survive in these waters.

The other problems are roads. During dry weather deposits from cars such as oil, rubber, heavy metals, etc. build up on the roads then when it rains all of this is washed down the drains into the rivers. After heavy rain, follows a dry period, black water can be seen entering water courses from road drains and this contaminated water can have severe effects on fish and invertebrates living in the immediate area.

There are ways to combat this. One method is to introduce Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in problem areas. This method diverts runoff through ponds and soak-always before allowing it to enter the river, allowing pollutants to filter out so the water entering the water course is much cleaner with significantly reduced pollutants present. Ideally SuDS should also be included in any plans for new developments of houses, business premises and roads.

Another method is education. Teaching people through campaigns like Yellow Fish about how they should dispose of liquids and what is best practices to prevent polluting their local river.


River Roach Catchment

WFD water body status


WFD overall status objective

To achieve good ecological status by 2027

Project type

Improving water quality

Benefiting species and/or habitats

Improved water quality will result in more biodiversity and healthier natural populations.

Total area covered by project

Whole water course

Total area surveyed

Whole water course

Project lead

Jane Herbert

Contact for more information

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Funding source

None at present

Website key stakeholders:

Environment Agency logo      Essex Wildlife Trust logo           

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting based on an original concept by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust