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Manx rivers reflect a high quality environment 2 November 2007

River water quality monitoring by the Department of Local Government and the Environment shows that 98% of the Island’s rivers are classed as fair or above average quality for both biological and chemical measures. The quality of rivers is a good indicator of the overall state of the environment and the current state of the Island’s rivers reflects our high-quality environment.

The latest 2006 results from the Annual River Quality report produced by the Government Laboratory show that the good river water quality previously registered in 2003-2005 has been maintained. These results are higher than those achieved in England and Wales for a comparable period, indicating Manx rivers are some of the best in Britain. However, although the Island’s rivers are generally of a good state, the presence of a few rivers of lesser quality on the Island indicates that certain areas are suffering from pollution stress. Continuing vigilance is needed to safeguard the Island’s rivers.

The Government Laboratory employs a Freshwater Biologist to monitor over 80 sites on the Island’s rivers throughout the year for water quality (dissolved oxygen, ammonia, nitrates etc.) and macro-invertebrate life (animals such as insects, shrimps, snails and leeches). The DLGE has an Environmental Protection Unit which uses this routine river monitoring for the immediate detection of pollution incidents, and the long-term nature of the monitoring provides information on general trends in water quality over months and years, allowing planned improvements in the Island’s river systems.

The Environment Minister, John Shimmin, MHK, referring to the newly-published river quality report said,

“Routine monitoring of water quality is the only way by which we can be alerted to the first signs of any deterioration in our rivers and so allow us to take action to prevent our rivers slowly slipping into an unsatisfactory state. My Department remains committed to a programme of routine monitoring of rivers to ensure a high standard of water quality is maintained”.

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