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Canal and River Trust (Investigating the impact of aluminium pollution on the Aire & Calder Canal)

Name: Canal & River Trust
Category: Any
Location: The site location is Bullough Lane, Woodlesford, LS26. Our nearest office is Fearns Wharf, Leeds. Site visits will be required.
Project summary: We’re looking for a student to carry out a water quality study into the impact of aluminium pollution on the Aire & Calder Canal, and then investigate feasible mitigation or treatment methods.
Detailed summary: Examining aluminium pollution impacts on the Aire & Calder Canal and investigating viable solutions. The Canal & River Trust are a charity entrusted with the care of 2,000 miles of waterway in England & Wales. Our navigable canals are split between leisure and freight waterways; we also have ‘remainder’ waterways which are not navigable watercourses.

The Aire & Calder Canal is a freight canal running from central Leeds to Goole on the Humber estuary. It has both man-made ‘cuts’ and navigable river sections, with a variety of navigation and flow control structures. As with many watercourses in industrial areas, it is impacted by historic pollution; some has ceased with only residual contamination left in silt and ground, but some, such as mine drainage, continues to cause issues to this day.

One particular location is near to Woodlesford, a now scenic village with a popular long distance cycle path and attractive towpath walk. The previous Rothwell Colliery is now a country park, but drainage suspected to be from the old colliery has turned streams and springs in the area white. Work with our partners in the Environment Agency has found that this is due to high levels of aluminium (results will be made available to students). It has not been established that this pollution is causing harm to humans or wildlife, and so is a low priority for further investigation and resolution. It is, however, an ideal research project for anyone wishing to enter the water pollution field. It will also provide a sound basis for a solution to be prioritised and solve an issue for local people.

The aims of this research will be:
1) Investigate the impact of the aluminium pollution on the Aire & Calder canal
2) Investigate solutions
3) Cost solutions and investigate likely success rates, and recommend accordingly.
Number of students partnered with: 1
Current status: In progress