Water pollution

The Environment Agency is responsible for monitoring river water quality, controlling discharges into watercourses and for dealing with pollution incidents. Call the Environment Agency incident hotline to report water pollution by telephoning 0800 807060 (24 hour service).

Please see the following general advice on ways to avoid water pollution:

  • Use less detergent. The amount of detergent you need to use depends on the hardness of the water in your area and how dirty your laundry is. Even if you do use detergents with phosphate in them, you can still help the environment by using the minimum amount recommended on the pack
  • Choose environmentally friendly brands with no phosphate at all. Watch out for the word phosphate on the side of each packet. Aim for less than 5% if you can. Phosphate is sometimes called sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP)
  • Try to buy liquids or powders instead of tablets. Laundry liquids tend to contain less phosphate, laundry tablets tend to contain the most phosphate
  • Wait until you have a full load before using a washing machine
  • Ensure that your private sewage treatment plant is well maintained and working effectively
  • Incorrect plumbing could mean that waste water from dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, baths and even toilets is flushed directly into a local river. These 'misconnected' pipes are a common cause of pollution to rivers and streams, especially in towns and cities. The Connect Right website helps property owners/businesses establish if their drains are connected properly and what to do if they are not

Water companies also set out in their Water Resource Management Plans how they will reduce water consumption through, for example, the introduction of compulsory water metering and education programmes. Water efficiency is clearly a key issue for the borough (and the South East).

Contact details

Environmental Health team

If you have an enquiry about environmental health, send a message to the Environmental Health team

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