Archive for November, 2023

‘Forever chemicals’ found in drinking water sources across England

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Potentially toxic “forever chemicals” have been detected in the drinking water sources at 17 of 18 England’s water companies, with 11,853 samples testing positive, something experts say they are “extremely alarmed” by.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – a group of 10,000 or so human-made chemicals widely used in industrial processes, firefighting foams and consumer products – were found in samples of raw and treated water tested by water companies last year, according to the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), the Guardian and Watershed Investigations has found.

Scientific paper based on the Forever Pollution Project

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A scientific paper based on the Forever Pollution Project on PFAS was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. A researcher said: “We used the data to study the relationships between PFAS soil concentrations and point sources. An AI-driven predictive model was developed that enabled us to generate a map of PFAS soil concentration over the entire European soils. The map provides important insights (or better to say, warnings!) into the scale of PFAS contamination in soils in Europe, and we discuss the implications in relation to seepage water concentrations as well.”

Watershed ‘highly commended’ at British Journalism Awards

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Watershed was shortlisted for a British Journalism Award for its work on PFAS forever chemical pollution and received ‘highly commended’ by the judges. The winner was a 10-strong team of BBC journalists who ran a fantastic investigation into the deadly impact of oil giants’ air pollution. The awards celebrate the best public interest reporting of 2023 and Watershed was fortunate to make the shortlist under the environment category alongside some great journalists doing important work.

Environment Agency has nearly halved water-use inspections in last five years

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The Environment Agency has slashed its water-use inspections by almost a half over the past five years. Environment Agency officers visited people and businesses with licences to abstract, or take, water from rivers and aquifers 4,539 times in 2018-19, but this dropped to 2,303 inspections in 2022-23, according to data obtained by the Guardian and Watershed Investigations.

Watershed - Investigative Journalism