Thames Water Quality

Like many river users, we are very aware of the current concerns regarding water quality on our rivers, and particularly the River Thames.

As a brief background, the current issues we face on our stretch of the river are mainly caused by Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). CSOs are designed to prevent overwhelming of sewage treatment plants during heavy rain events by releasing a mixture of storm water and untreated sewage directly into the river. This can result in increased levels of pollutants, including bacteria, suspended solids, and nutrients, entering the river.

It is your decision whether your child comes out on the river with us but we are enacting the following plan to help reduce the likelihood of bacterial contamination.

What we are doing as the Viking group:
• Consider water quality by monitoring known sewage discharge notification channels to ensure there have been no recent events in our immediate area.
• We have started taking weekly samples of river water and are having them analysed for E-Coli (EC) and Intestinal Enterococci (IE) and we are working with other groups on the Thames to get more data. We will use these data to supplement our risk assessments. The latest results can be viewed here to come soon on this exciting new development along with how you can help)
• Visually inspect the river
• Reinforce to all participants to follow good hygiene practices by keeping their hands out of their mouth and away from their face, during and after river activities.
• We will provide anti-bacterial hand wash that all participants will be required to use on immediate exit of the river.
• We will set up a hand washing station with hot water and soap at the HQ that all participants will be required to use on completion of kit stowing.

What you can do as a parent:
• Wear suitable footwear for water-based activities, this minimises the risk of cuts to the foot.
• Help us clear away quickly, and supervise all participants hand washing.
• Ensure they shower them as soon as possible using soap and clean water.
• Wash swimwear promptly after swimming in a river. Use hot water and detergent to kill any bacteria that might be on the fabric.
• Stay hydrated with clean water: Make sure they drink plenty of clean, safe water. This can help flush out any potential contaminants from their system.
• Monitor for symptoms: Be vigilant for any signs of illness such as diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, or fever in the days following river events. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.
• Wash, cover and seal open wounds with suitable waterproof first aid material. Clean and wash open wounds as early as practicable after getting home.
• Help us reiterate to all participants to follow good hygiene practices by keeping their hands out of their mouth during and after river activities and washing their hands.

We continue to monitor the of the river and will make any river activity based decisions with safety as paramount.

If you have any questions please speak with your section leaders.