The survey of outfalls was conducted between the 9th October and 6th December 2017. Eleven people took part in the Outfall Safari, comprising nine volunteers and two members of TRT staff. Volunteers were trained at the Hilcote Community Centre on 4th October 2017. Training, which was given by TRT and STW included:
• an overview of water quality issues in the Alfreton Brook catchment
• information on outfalls and how they become polluted
• instruction on how to assess each outfall using the project App and how to upload information to the database
• a health & safety briefing and signing of the risk assessment
During the training, groups of volunteers were assigned lengths of brook to survey. Further coordination of survey dates and reaches was conducted by the volunteer group on a closed Facebook group set up specifically for the Outfall Safari. Groups of volunteers were free to conduct the survey of their reach when convenient to them, within the survey period, provided there had been no rain for 48 hours prior to survey.
A period of 48 hours of no rain is required before any survey work as rainfall and high surface water flows can obscure the negative impacts of outfalls by washing away sewage fungus, discoloured sediments and rag. In addition, many Severn Trent Water outfalls should only convey rain water. Therefore, any flow in dry weather conditions, no matter how small, was of concern to STW.
The survey work was conducted from the riverside path or banks. The risk assessment for riverside outfall surveying highlighted that volunteers should not enter the river channel to undertake the survey. In addition to personal protective equipment (PPE) volunteers took a printed handout, designed to help with ranking the impacts of each outfall, a smart phone or tablet loaded with a specially created data entry App and printed maps showing known surface water outfalls and Combined Sewage Overflows.