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The Mersey Basin: an historical assessment of water quality from an anecdotal perspective

Burton, L. R. (2003) The Mersey Basin: an historical assessment of water quality from an anecdotal perspective. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT , 314. pp. 53-66.

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/s0048-9697(03)00094-9


The freshwaters of the Mersey Basin have been seriously polluted for over 200 years. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the water quality was relatively clean before the start of the Industrial Revolution. The development of the cotton and chemical industries increased the pollution load to rivers, and consequently a decline in biota supported by the water was observed. Industrial prosperity led to a rapid population increase and an increase in domestic effluent. Poor treatment of this waste meant that it was a significant pollutant. As industry intensified during the 19th century, the mix of pollutants grew more complex. Eventually, in the 1980s, the government acknowledged the problem and more effort was made to improve the water quality. Knowledge of social and economic history, as well as anecdotal evidence, has been used in this paper to extrapolate the changes in water quality that occurred. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:3336
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mersey Basin history Industrial Revolution sewage development industry
Additional Information: Conference Information: Meeting on Estuarine Modelling: Use and Abuse CUMBRIA, ENGLAND, SEP, 2001

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