It Shouldn’t Be In The Dee

‘Create a community-led approach to eliminate sources of pollution’

Pollution is one of the major environmental problems facing the River Dee. It has many sources and pathways making it a challenging problem which we are unable to solve alone. ‘It Shouldn’t be in the Dee’ raises awareness of pollution and its damage. We are working with newly engaged communities to find and eliminate the sources of pollution. Through this approach, we believe we can exponentially grow the number of people working towards a clean River Dee.

Since the launch of our 2023 strategy we have achieved:


Litter picks
Education events held
Active citizen scientists

Litter picks

We organise group litter picks both on and off the water around waterways in the River Dee catchment. Please get in touch with us if you know of a litter hotspot that needs tackling or would like support to lead your own litter pick.

Education events

We are passionate about raising awareness of pollution in the River Dee catchment with the public and sharing ideas of how individuals and groups can act to help improve our waterways. We are involved with various outreach and engagement activities, from public talks and events to school visits.

Please contact us if you would like us to give a talk to your group.

Citizen science pollution monitoring

Using rapid test strips, citizen scientists are measuring phosphate (PO4) which occurs naturally within river ecosystems in very low levels under 50 ppb (parts per billion). Higher levels of phosphate can be a good indicator of pollution, as the nutrient is found in animal and human waste, cleaning chemicals, industrial runoff and fertiliser.

High phosphate levels can cause eutrophication (excessive growth of algae due to high levels of nutrients), which then affects water quality, damages plants and animals and stops us using the water. At 100 ppb the water is polluted at levels that will be damaging to wildlife. These waters will still have some wildlife – but they won’t have the wonderful richness of life, or rare species that live in clean water. From 200-500 ppb (high levels) or 1000-2500 ppb (very high levels), even tougher species sometimes find it hard to make a home.

Data gathered is being used to identify degraded waterbodies, spot pollution events and target our work to eliminate pollutants entering the Dee. Each point on the map is a single survey carried out by a citizen scientist. High levels of phosphate at a particular point doesn’t necessarily mean that the pollution source is at that location – the source could be anywhere upstream of that point.

New report on Phosphorus pollution in the river Dee

Welsh Dee Trust has released a new report focused on Phosphorus pollution in the River Dee. The report aims to clearly explain the Welsh Dee Trust’s knowledge and understanding of the sources and pathways of phosphorus into the river Dee and highlight the work the Welsh Dee Trust is undertaking to tackle the issue.

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plant growth; however, excessive phosphorus levels in aquatic systems can lead to harmful algal blooms and other ecological imbalances. These blooms can deplete oxygen levels in water, posing a threat to aquatic life and biodiversity. Currently, the Dee and Llyn Tegid Area of Conservation is failing its targets for phosphorus pollution, damaging the river’s ecology and halting local governments from providing planning permission for development.

The report follows a webinar on the same topic which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3Eav8TlSLU&t=2s