Pesticides, nitrates put English drinking water at risk

Many drinking water abstraction areas in England and Wales are at risk of failing EU water quality standards due to pesticide and nitrate pollution, an official report warned

Many drinking water abstraction areas in England and Wales are at risk of failing EU water quality standards due to pesticide and nitrate pollution, the countries’ Environment Agency has warned.

Nearly half of groundwater drinking water protection areas (DrWPAs) in England and Wales could need extra purification treatment to meet the Water Framework Directive and Drinking Water Directive’s objectives.

The main reason is nitrate pollution. “Nitrate in groundwater comes from a variety of sources, including chemical fertilisers and organic materials. Modelling has suggested that in rural areas in the UK more than 80% of nitrate in groundwater may come from agriculture,” the agency said.

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