As our Call of Nature Project draws to a close, a Community Workshop was held on Monday 19th March at Marthall Hall to discuss the progress of the project in Marthall and Ollerton. It was unfortunate that the turnout was very small, but the evening was still very interesting and informative.
Sally Potts, Project Officer, who has delivered this project, gave a presentation about how the project had been carried out, and that by working in the local community and with local schools, over 150 local people have been engaged as part of this project. Most people are aware of how to look after their septic tanks, but there were commonly asked questions regarding what cleaning products can be used, and whether surface water can be connected to a septic tank.
River Guardians have been trained as part of this project in January, and are already testing water quality in Marthall and Pedley Brooks. This will hopefully show an improvement in the currently poor water quality here, as people take more care of their septic tanks and sewage treatment systems.
APEM Environmental Consultants also gave a short presentation at the workshop. They have carried out much more detailed water quality tests for the Call of Nature project. Their results show that there is an issue with nitrate across brooks, which can be caused by leaking or faulty septic tanks, agricultural run-off from fields and erosion from river banks. At certain points
along the brooks there was found to be a very significant increase in the levels of bacteria in the water. These bacteria are associated with sewage, and so must be further investigated to determine the source of these bacteria and work with the landowners or householders to rectify the problem. Some of the sample points also showed that the issues with bacteria were chronic, so not just one off problems found at the time when the surveys were carried out, but problems where the bacteria have been introduced to the water over a number of months.
Attendees at the workshop found this all to be very interesting and sobering information, and had concerns about being located at the source of a major water system (Marthall and Pedley Brooks flow into Birkin Brook and then the River Bollin). The attendees believed that more needs to be done to stop septic tank pollution at the source, as it will be beneficial for wildlife along the whole of the waterbodies and those connected to Marthall and Pedley Brooks.
More work will be done to connect with more people through coffee mornings and the village garden party. A leaflet has also been produced that can be requested explaining the Call of Nature project in this area.
It important for wildlife that we all do the right thing when answering the Call of Nature.