Highways projects ‘must take lead in tackling waterway pollution’

08.08 | 17 June 2022 |

Image: ACO Water Management

Highways engineers are being urged to increase the focus on surface water treatment, in a bid to protect the country’s waterways.

A number of pollutants can be found on the UK’s roads, such as motor oil and tyre debris. 

According to ACO Water Management, these often find their way into the water network – a problem that is ‘continuing to increase’.

ACO says earlier this year, it was revealed that the Environment Agency does not have enough money to investigate low-impact pollution events.

Therefore, ‘the onus is likely to fall on the construction industry to help mitigate the impact’.

It is calling on engineers and designers ‘to place greater emphasis on managing water cleanliness when designing projects’.

Terry Wilkinson, specialist design and application engineer at ACO, said: “During dry weather, more pollutants, such as rubber from tyres and motor oil, can accumulate on road surfaces. 

“However, when we experience rainfall, this pollution is washed into our drains, adding to the recent problems highlighted by the Environmental Audit Committee.

“The problem with water pollution is complex, however, there are ways in which the highways industry can help protect our waterways from worsening. 

“It’s imperative that effective surface water management is considered at the beginning of every highway scheme, to ensure water that enters the drainage system is cleaned before being released back into the country’s waterways.”



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