Yorkshire Water outlines £13m infrastructure investment
The announcement comes as the UK’s first inland bathing water at Ilkley was rated ‘poor’ by the Environment Agency.
Modelling has indicated during periods of dry weather the main contributors to background bacteria were from agricultural operations, local domestic waste patterns, misconnections, and treatment works at Beamsley, Draughton and Grassington.
Further modelling will be taking place in the future to increase available data and improve the understanding of all factors influencing water quality in the river.
Ben Roche, director of wastewater at Yorkshire Water, said: “We’re keen to play our part in improving water quality in the River Wharfe following the first Environment Agency classification of the inland bathing water at Ilkley.
"Our modelling indicates acting upstream of the bathing water, at our treatment works at Grassington, Draughton and Beamsley, will deliver the greatest benefit in terms of improving water quality via our assets.
"We are also assessing the pumping station at Addingham and considering green and sustainable solutions.
“We have outlined up to £13m investment in our network that will help to reduce discharges into the river during prolonged spells of rain and reduce the impact of treated effluent being returned to the environment. This funding is over and above existing investment plans for the current five-year period.
“While our investment will help improve water quality, it alone will not guarantee an improvement in bathing water status. Our modelling indicates pollution is entering the watercourses from a variety of sources, including misconnections and agricultural land which the river and its tributaries run through. It is important other landowners and stakeholders take action to ensure water quality is improved in the future, with the ultimate aim of improving the bathing water classification.”