NORTHWICH residents angry about raw sewage being dumped in the town’s beautiful rivers now have the perfect chance to do something about it.

New pollution prevention group, Northwich River Heroes, is holding a launch event on Saturday, April 20, where it hopes to recruit more volunteers to get involved in its new citizen science water testing programme.

The group was set up by Northwich town councillor, Lee Siddall, after he successfully lobbied United Utilities for money for a citizen science project to monitor the health of the towns two main rivers, the Weaver and the Dane.

The £1,075 grant was used to join the Water Quality Monitoring Network, a national scheme run by the Angling Trust to provide training and equipment to volunteers groups for collecting data on river health.

Northwich Guardian: Northwich River Heroes volunteers after a water testing training session with the Angling TrustNorthwich River Heroes volunteers after a water testing training session with the Angling Trust (Image: Newsquest)

The group will be testing for nitrates and phosphates from sources such as sewage outflows, as well as ammonia from agricultural slurry run-off.

They’ll also be collecting data on water temperature and conductivity, and noting their visual observations, all of which will be uploaded in situ to the Water Quality Monitoring Newtwork's app.   

Cllr Siddall said: "We’ve so grateful to United Utilities for the grant which has allowed us to get this project off the ground.

"They’ve had a lot of flack in recent years over their contribution to river pollution in Northwich and elsewhere, but this shows they’re taking the problem seriously, and that they’re willing to engage with community members who passionately want to do something about it."

The launch event starts at Grozone’s Community Garden at the Old Dane Nurseries at 10am, then volunteers will move off to some of proposed testing sites where they’ll learn all about the testing process.

If you're interested in learning more, visit the group's Facebook page, or email Lee at

Cllr Siddall added: “It’ll be a good chance for people to have a go with the equipment and learn what we’re all about.

“We’re hoping to have United Utilities river rangers there too, so if people have any question about what’s going on with the rivers, it’ll be a good opportunity to put them.

“We’re look at five testing sites to begin with: near the Blue Bridge at Hartford; at the outflow near Marshall’s Arm; around Waitrose; just after the confluence of the two rivers, to see what’s happening with the Dane; and somewhere in the Acton Bridge area.

"This isn't set in stone. We'll learn more as we go along, but we think this will help us start to build up a picture of what's going on."