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Rivers improved after sewage works

PUBLISHED: 18:00 06 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:19 03 March 2010

IMPROVEMENTS to sewage treatment works are being cited as the main reason for significant progress in the clean-up of Suffolk's rivers.

A report published by the Environment Agency said 99% of the total length of the region's rivers is now ranked either good or fair in terms of water quality.

IMPROVEMENTS to sewage treatment works are being cited as the main reason for significant progress in the clean-up of Suffolk's rivers.

A report published by the Environment Agency said 99% of the total length of the region's rivers is now ranked either good or fair in terms of water quality. This compares with 97% in 1995 and 87% in 1990.

The latest analysis shows only 4% of the total length of river in East Anglia being described as having poor water quality and less than 1% as bad.

The Environment Agency said the main reason for the rise in quality was improvements to the region's sewage treatment works, which meant that water discharged from them into rivers was less polluted.

Other reasons include the absence of drought in recent years which has enabled most rivers to have good flows of water.

Water quality has also improved nationally with the agency claiming that rivers and canals in England and Wales are probably cleaner than they have been since before the Industrial Revolution.

However, the aesthetic quality of many rivers still suffers – through the dumping of litter and dog fouling on the banks.

Alan Barnden, the agency's Anglian region water quality manager, said: "The billions being invested in cleaning up our rivers are bearing fruit. The overall quality of river water has improved significantly over the last five years."

Anglian Water, which is in the midst of a £500 million investment programme, said further improvements in water quality were expected over the next few years.

"It is extremely gratifying that the investment we have made in the last decade has contributed to such a massive improvement in river water quality in this area," said Paul Woodcock, the company's director of sustainable development.

The results of the latest Environment Agency analysis of water quality can be found in the In Your Backyard section of its website: www.environment-agency.gove.uk. Visitors to the site can enter a postcode to find out the quality of water in rivers in their own locality.

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