With lots of local people enjoying swimming in the river, the Ilkley Clean River Group (ICRG) is reminding Ilkley residents that the river is never safe to swim in below the iron footbridge where the water is contaminated by the treated sewage and the 'storm overflow' at any time.
Becky Malby from ICRG told Ilkley Chat:
“Upstream of the iron footbridge all the way to Addingham our testing has shown that the river e-coli levels are within safe limits in dry conditions only. But when it rains and for some time after it rains (we don't know how long) the storm overflow at Addingham and Ilkley discharge untreated sewage into the river.”
“This means that in wet weather, and for as long as the overflow runs (it can be a long time as the run off from the moors comes into the sewage system) polluted water is in our river along the whole stretch.”
“We advise that you don't swim in the river in wet weather and for some time after it stops. We are seeing the storm overflow running for a day after the rain stops. When we say rain we mean any rain at all - a few millimetre of rain triggers the storm overflows.”
Becky adds: “we have had a number of queries from people thinking the river is only diluted below the iron footbridge. This is not the case. Please see our website for more information.”
Ilkley Clean Rover Group are pursuing Bathing Status at Ilkley so that the quality of the water is publicly available at all times and to secure a clean up of the sewage system. However, the group says Defra is stalling the consultation, the application has been with Defra for eight months now and there is still no action.
The ICRG website is https://sites.google.com/view/cleanwharfeilkley/swimming-in-the-river?authuser=0