Improving water quality
Phosphorus comes from the food we eat and the cleaning products we use.
Many smaller wastewater treatment works and all private systems (like septic tanks) don’t have the capability to remove phosphorus during treatment, resulting in it being discharged into our rivers.
It feeds nutrient-hungry algae instead of the more wildlife friendly plants usually found in the Forest’s rivers. When the algae die and are deposited as sediment, it can smother plants and use up oxygen as it decomposes, suffocating aquatic insects and fish.
We are monitoring waterways through the catchment project to identify problem areas and working with farmers to help them reduce all types of Diffuse Water Pollution from Agriculture (DWPA) in order to protect our rivers. Check Government guidance for information if you are a farmer.
Water companies are also investing in upgrades to wastewater treatment works to enable them to more effectively remove phosphate from the water they receive.
You can help by keeping your septic tank in good order – find out how with our septic tank leaflet.
You could also reduce the amount of phosphate you contribute via domestic cleaning products. Some commonly used products, such as dishwasher tablets, can be up to a third phosphate and using alternatives can have a great benefit for wildlife. If you want to know more about phosphate pollution, read our phosphorus leaflet.