Nitrate restrictions working in Thames Valley aquifer

A Nitrate Sensitive Area (NSA) set up in the Thames Valley five years ago to reduce nitrate levels in drinking water is beginning to have a effect, Thames Water scientists have concluded. The rapidity of the improvement will surprise many in the water industry, but it remains to be seen whether the results are being replicated in NSAs on aquifers with different flow characteristics.

Thames Water's data were presented by Dr Philip Aldous to the fourth annual IBC conference on groundwater pollution in March. He reported on an analysis of nitrate levels at the company's Ogbourne St George water supply, a chalk borehole situated in an NSA designated in 1990.

NSAs were designed by the Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) to test the effects of farming practices on nitrate levels in aquifers. Farmers in NSAs are given the option

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