Since June 2017 a “dedicated band” of volunteers has gone out once a month to take water samples from the river at five points between the Sheriff Hutton road and Rowntree Wharf. These are analysed for phosphate and nitrate content using a kit of tubes supplied by Earthwatch, plus water temperature and turbidity (clarity or lack of it). The results are uploaded to a national database making them available to any researchers who might be interested, as well as contributing to a national picture.

The effect of Walbutt’s sewage treatment plant is clearly seen, and we have also identified a very high level of both phosphate and nitrate coming quite legally from the treatment plant at Sheriff Hutton. Apparently, plants servicing communities of less than 2000 souls have a much more lax set of regulations and discharge permissions than those serving larger communities. It is likely that the same applies to the plant servicing Stillington.


The link below will take you to some background material on the organisation behind our project.

Community Water Sampling Project

This link is to the Foss Sub-Catchment Evidence Pack compiled by ClaireTunningley, Catchment Coordinator, Environment Agency and summarises the ecological data available on the Foss and suggests some actions that might be taken.


This link takes you to a report written about our first year’s results.

Data Analysis Report Foss 08_05_18