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The Norfolk Broads Forum / General Chat / How Clean Is The Water?
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Posted By Discussion Topic: How Clean Is The Water?

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Ifafa
Apr-18-2015 @ 2:43 PM                           Permalink
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Many folks I come across often speak of a time when the water was clear and I was wondering why it no longer is?

The reward of patience,  is patience.

Jeremy-Aslan
Apr-18-2015 @ 3:08 PM                           Permalink
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It depends where you look  -  try West Somerton or Coltishall, and you can often see the bottom three feet down as clear as daylight.  The main Bure, anywhere downstream of Wroxham, gets well and truly churned up by passing craft.  

I would suggest that those memories of clear water might either have been from so long ago it was before motorised craft, or of backwaters away from the main rivers, or even that there may perhaps be some re-tinted spectacles in the equation.  Certainly, since at least the 1960s, all the main rivers have had suspended silt  -  and I would say that they are sightly clearer now than they used to be.


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Marshman
Apr-18-2015 @ 4:32 PM                           Permalink
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There is silt in suspension but the biggest factor by far is algae growth and that is why in the winter I have frequently been down the Ant and seen the bottom, but as soon as the weather warms up, algae grows and clouds the water - a bit like your garden pond.

The water in the Broads is phosphate rich due in part to agricultural run off but also because the water chucked out by the local sewage works is also rich in phosphates from domestic use. Anglian Water have plans to introduce "scrubbers" to remove some of the worst concentrations but like many things it is a question of priorities.

Having said that the rivers are generally the cleanest they have been for many years and the best evidence for this is the spread of the white water lilies - these continue to spread but are less tolerant of polluted water than the yellow ones which now grow in abundance almost everywhere.

Mud in suspension of which there is some, does not reflect a "dirty" river on the Broads - algae growth has a greater impact but dense algae growth impacts plant life and the general health of the rivers etc

You should have seen it in the 60's and early 70's before holding tanks were introduced!!!



boat-mad
Apr-18-2015 @ 4:33 PM                           Permalink
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By Wayford Bridge was crystal clear when I went there a couple of years ago.  You could literally see fish taking the anglers bait.

I wouldn't have thought the water would be that clean years ago as if I remember correctly the toilets used to pump straight into the river. YUK! Scared

Kind Regards
Alan...
www.mynorfolkbroadsboating.co.uk/


This message was edited by boat-mad on Apr-18-15 @ 5:40 PM

Ifafa
Apr-18-2015 @ 4:48 PM                           Permalink
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Yes, it can be a bit smelly at times around Wayford.

The reward of patience,  is patience.

This message was edited by Ifafa on Apr-19-15 @ 9:31 AM

CaptBryan
Apr-18-2015 @ 5:52 PM                           Permalink
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Many of the old sailing river cruiser still have their direct discharge Baby Blakes.

Captain Howe.

The Eagle may soar majestic,
but you don't suck a Stoat
into your jet engines.
Please leave the water and
banks as you would wish to
find them.

Coriolis
Apr-18-2015 @ 9:53 PM                           Permalink
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Out of interest and clarity (!) it's still perfectly legal for Broads sailing boats to discharge overboard - it's only mobos which are required to keep it on board.  The sailys are exempted from the holding tank regs due to the practical difficulties of arranging such things on boats which are not only very low (from bilge to deck, limiting places to fit holding tanks)but are also prone to leaning over to quite extreme angles, making venting arrangements tricky.

I don't really believe the exemption is likely to add very much to the already-present fish, duck, goose and other wildlife poo, especially given how rarely the average (private) saily actually goes out on the river.
In the 70's with 4000 hire boats (of all flavours) out it was very different (hence the holding tank rules) but these days I believe there are only around 800 hire boats so even if the tanks were removed I don't expect it would be crocodile city like before.

Regardless, I wouldn't recommend drinking the river in any case and would be extremely choosy about where I might swim Smile


Paladine
Apr-19-2015 @ 8:15 AM                           Permalink
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The relevant byelaw, which only relates to "any craft using mechanical power as the principal means of propulsion and also includes any houseboat whether mobile or permanently moored and whether propelled by mechanical power or not but does not include vessels which ordinarily voyage to seaward beyond the Port of Great Yarmouth," was introduced in 1967.

Interestly, it is not a Broads Authority byelaw. However, within the 1997 Registration Byelaws, there is a section requiring information to be given as to "whether the vessel is fitted with any lavatory or sanitation system which is intended to discharge or capable of discharging sewage or toilet waste into the waters of the navigation area."

My understand (from a previous thread on this subject) is that the BA will not register, or issue a licence to, a hire or private vessel so fitted, althought there may well be exceptions made.

“I can assure the House that the Broads will not be changing their name.”
(The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs...Hansard 2007)

Coriolis
Apr-20-2015 @ 11:18 AM                           Permalink
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Oh well, every day's a schoolday.

Nobody ever asked me about such arrangements and it's never been an issue for BA Registration, BSS, Tolls or any other purpose for me or 20-30 other saily boats I know of, ancient and modern, and I certainly don't have an exemption which I could produce....

Isn't it strange how things you thought you knew about turn out to be less than the full story....

Exile
Apr-20-2015 @ 11:53 AM                           Permalink
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Many laws and by-laws simply fade into significance and although never reformed just become redundant with no-one even attempting to enforce them.
This seems one such case.  

I believe that the law forbidding beating a carpet on a Sunday remains unreformed. I wouldn't expect the boys in blue to turn up and arrest you for it though....
Not being a lawyer I accept that one may well be an urban myth. But I am sure that you get my gist.

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