November 2020 - February 2022

Working collaboratively with Mott MacDonald to deliver 14 long-term water quality investigations in south-east England to assess the impact of water company wastewater discharges on waterbody status under Water Framework Directive (WFD) and on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

FiveRivers delivered a large monitoring programme between November 2020 and February 2022, consisting of repeat visits to 127 unique locations, 14 of which were located on two large surface water reservoirs, for water quality spot-sampling and a further 69 locations for the collection of macroinvertebrate samples.

Project requirements

The problem

A total of 14 waterbodies were identified as failing to achieve Good status under the WFD for a range of quality elements including Total Phosphorus (TP), Eutrophication, Reactive Phosphorus (RP) and Dissolved Oxygen (DO). In addition, one waterbody is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the current condition of the SSSI is assessed as being unfavourable.

For FiveRivers, delivering a programme of monitoring at this scale involved various challenges including:

  • Wide geographical distribution of monitoring locations.
  • Timing constraints related to recommended stability times for water quality determinands.
  • COVID-19 pandemic and associated challenges.
  • Short term fuel shortages.
Our approach

The solution

The key to project success was the partnership approach developed with Mott MacDonald, forming a joined-up project team including weekly team meetings to ensure all logistical and technical challenges were mitigated for in an effective and timely manner.

FiveRivers appointed a dedicated Survey Manager to liaise with Mott MacDonald and ensure a presence in the office to enable flexible planning and delivery over the duration of the monitoring programme. With a dedicated Survey Manager and utilising flexible resourcing of multiple survey teams, FiveRivers were able to operate in a responsive manner to any challenges faced, such as COVID-19 quarantine and other unpredictable events such as fuel shortages.

A targeted programme of investigative monitoring at strategic locations throughout each catchment was required to determine the cost and technical feasibility of water company measures to improve or prevent deterioration from the WFD water quality targets and the revised Common Standards Monitoring Guidance (rCSMG).

All field data was collected electronically using ArcGIS Survey123 with bespoke proforma, which was incredibly efficient, not only saving time for the surveyors, but also allowing Mott MacDonald to have real-time access to the data avoiding the need for processing

Project outcomes

The results

Our field team, equipped with the latest water quality instrumentation and sampling equipment successfully undertook over 3000 individual visits to monitoring locations, which also included deploying a boat on 45 separate occasions, filled more than 7500 sample bottles with over 4300 litres of water.

FiveRivers successfully delivered the required monitoring to programme and within budget proving Mott MacDonald with the high-quality data required to model options and prioritise capital investments by the Client with excellent feedback from Mott MacDonald.


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FiveRivers were excellent to work with. They understood the scope and requirements of our overall project. Any issues/changes were quickly communicated and dealt with, with minimal interruption to our overall programme. They were able to help with extra items such as door knocking to secure land access whilst already out on site and expedited lab data to meet our tight programme. It was also helpful that the team was able to log site visits and data straight onto our system which has saved time dealing with deliverables/data processing. Overall, really pleased with the work. It’s been a year-long survey programme which has been delivered to scope, on time, and budget. We have everything we need to complete our investigations for our client.
Catherine Jenkins, Project Manager at Mott MacDonald

Our services

Services implemented.

Tom Grayling - Director of Monitoring and Natural Capital at FiveRivers (5R)

Contact us

Looking to talk to an expert?

Tom Grayling

Director of Monitoring & New Business

Get in touch by either phone or email to speak with Tom and discuss your needs.