What to do when you see poo? The River Monitors are on the case!

‘Brown scum’ was seen floating off East Beach, Lyme Regis, after a sewage overflow was reported in nearby Charmouth during heavy rainfall

IF you see local residents with buckets on strings dangling into the river and some measuring equipment, you’re probably seeing the River Lim Monitors in Action.

The group was formed last autumn under the wing of Turn Lyme Green and was delighted to receive kick start funding from the town council and Lyme Regis Regatta and Carnival Committee.

We want to improve our water quality for the sake of our own health – particularly for sea bathers and river paddlers – and for our wildlife.

The monitors also aim to spot and report any sewage incidents and are asking anyone who spots what they believe is a sewage incident to report it too.

This happened recently when I was taking a walk on East Beach one morning and saw what seemed to be brown scum along the water line and coating the rocks. There were children playing on the water’s edge and dogs running in and out.

Unusually, it seemed to have come from the Charmouth direction as there was an easterly wind and Wessex Water – I soon found out – had announced raw sewage discharges across Dorset just two days before.

We linked up with the even more recently-formed River Char monitors and wrote to Wessex Water with our concerns.

At first, they tried to persuade us this wasn’t pollution – perhaps rotting seaweed – then conceded that it was possible contamination from their perfectly legal, abhorrent discharges.

We’re looking forward to meeting up with them soon to see what can be done.

We’re also contacting South West Water, which covers the River Lim, part of the River Axe catchment. The Axe is so badly affected by pollution that Natural England has recently advised that no development should go ahead which could add to the pollution in the water.

So, what can you do?

Contact the water companies directly by phone. If you can follow up with an email to them and copy your MP in and us if you have time

If you think pollution is coming from Charmouth then you can contact the Wessex Water StreamClean team – and we’ve been promised someone will turn up promptly to find out what’s going on. Their emergency number is 0345 600 4600.

If you spot something going on in the Lim or on the beaches at Lyme Regis the South West Water number is 0344 346 2020.

And do let us know too so we know what complaints are being made.

We need to kick up a stink to get things to change. Wessex Water was responsible for 9,537 hours of sewage discharges in West Dorset last year, and South West Water for 1,409 hours. It might be legal, but it’s totally unacceptable.

Vicki Elcoate
River Lim Monitors, Turn Lyme Green

JOIN OUR MAILING LISTStay up to date with all the news from Lyme Regis, Uplyme & Charmouth by signing up to our regular newsletter.

View our privacy policy.

Woodmead Halls