Across England’s 189,700 miles of road, runoff surface water polluted with microplastics, trace metals, hydrocarbons and other organic pollutants enters our rivers every time it rains. CIWEM has been awarded a grant from the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund to illustrate the scale, nature and impact caused by this pollution, and offer potential solutions.

The pollution from road runoff is toxic so, unlike sewage pollution, much of it cannot be broken down by micro-organisms in the water environment. It is also persistent so it builds up in the sediment and affects the entire eco-system of the river.

Despite this knowledge of the presence and toxicity of substances in runoff and the ease with which they can enter watercourses, there is very limited data on their volumes and concentrations: the pollution that results from this discharge needs further investigation to quantify its impact and identify a route map to a solution.

CIWEM’s policy team is working with Stormwater Shepherds and members of our Urban Drainage Group to collect case study sample data and produce an in-depth report detailing the findings and recommendations for implementing solutions.

The report will be published in Autumn 2023 and CIWEM will host a webinar to discuss the research.

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