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Diffuse pollution of water

Water pollution, such as sewage and industrial effluent, is normally easy to monitor as it generally arises from a single source. Diffuse water pollution, however, arises from many sources.

Run off from transport, on-street activities such as car washing, discharges from contaminated land and herbicides from fish farming all contribute to diffuse pollution.

The diffuse pollution of water is a widespread problem and action to tackle it is required throughout England. However, in order to determine what type of action is best, it is important to know the extent to which different sources of diffuse pollution impact upon water quality and where, when and how they impact.

Diffuse water pollution from agriculture

Agriculture is one of the main sources of diffuse pollution and we are looking at ways to encourage Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) - managing land in a way that is sensitive to the ecological health of the water environment. See:

Diffuse water pollution from non-agricultural sources

Agriculture is not the only source of diffuse water pollution. For example, urban, transport and construction activities are all acute source of pollution which can affect the ecology and water quality of many catchments. Defra has therefore also begun a review of non-agricultural sources of diffuse water pollution.

Page published: 31 October 2008