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Researchers Turn Yorkshire Rivers Red to get Better Pollution & Flood Warning


Water engineering researchers from the University of Warwick will, this week (20th – 27th August), inject red dye into the River Don and its tributaries to help get a better understanding of how quickly flood and polluted water moves down the river.

The University of Warwick’s water engineering research team (warwickWater) are working with Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency to find ways of protecting river ecology in the event of sudden poor water quality. One possible measure would be the short term release of water from reservoirs which would help dilute and flush away any pollution causing poor water quality but to do that one needs an accurate measure of how quickly water flows along the river Don and its tributaries.

The research team will be injecting harmless red dye into the rivers Loxley and Little Don during the week commencing 20th August 2007. This is to enable the travel time to be measured for extra water released from Damflask and Underbank reservoirs to reach the Don between Sheffield and Rotherham. It is expected that at certain times and locations, the rivers will have a noticeably red appearance. The dye called Rhodamine WT is harmless to river life and people.

The researchers will be looking in particular at how fast the dye reaches the Don around Blackburn Meadows which handles all Sheffield’s sewage. In June, it was overwhelmed by the floods which meant that untreated sewage entered the Don, and Yorkshire Water worked round the clock to restore treatment at the facility.

The research team is led by Professor Ian Guymer, Professor of Civil Engineering, at University of Warwick. He was born and raised in Sheffield. He can be contacted today on 0114-231- 3467 or via a colleague’s mobile if out at the rivers on 07801 847904.


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