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Could you be a Pollution Spotter for Bradford’s rivers?

Our becks, rivers and seas should be a haven for wildlife and give pleasure to us all.  But Bradford’s Becks are frequently polluted by sewage and industrial waste.  In recent years, Bradford Beck has turned grey, orange, black, and white.  The blueish-grey discolouration that is often visible is sewage from misconnected drains or leaking sewers.  Sediment pollution from construction sites is often seen and blankets the bed, damaging the habitat for invertebrates and fish.  There were major fish kills in 2009 and 2018.

The Friends of Bradford’s Becks are determined to find out where this pollution is coming from with the help of willing volunteers.  It is very easy and can be combined with your permitted exercise under the COVID-19 lockdown guidance – two good things in one!

What does it involve?

  • Visiting the same spot(s) on the beck when you can, ideally at least three times a week. We have chosen about 30 sites (see map) covering almost all the becks, and will happily accept reports from other locations.
  • Taking a photo and recording what you see on our smartphone app.
  • Visits can be at any time when it isn’t raining heavily and can be on different days and times each week.  If you are away or busy, just skip that week.

What do we offer Spotters?

The link below takes you to the full instructions to obtain and use the ‘app’.  We can give advice by email or phone if you have any difficulties.

We will issue regular updates on results.  Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, we will hold quarterly get-togethers to update Spotters on progress.

There is a ‘picture of the month’ competition so if you see anything photogenic aside from pollution, use the option to upload an ‘Interesting picture’.

We have some give-aways for those spotters that stay the course!

Yorkshire Water have promised to investigate all the sources we find.  We will be liaising regularly with Bradford Council and the Environment Agency over our findings.

Don’t be disappointed if you don’t spot a pollution incident.  They often come and go quite quickly.  But it is important to record when the becks are clean as well, so please keep spotting!


Here is how to download and use the ‘app’ PollutionWatch instructions

Read the story in the T&A

Download (and circulate) the flyer that explains the scheme:  FOBB Pollutionwatch e-flyer

Map of regular monitoring sites

Monthly reports summarising observations PollutionWatch monthly reports