Clean Water Quest

1st – 31st May 2018

Take part in this citizen science survey and help to discover fantastic clean water habitats, great for wildlife, across the River Thame Catchment.

You can be part of current scientific research by using quick and simple test kits to measure the levels of two widespread pollutants, nitrate and phosphate, in your local ponds, streams, ditches and river.

The River Thame Catchment is an area where there is little information on the water quality of its freshwater landscape. Yet its freshwater habitats, from the biggest lakes to the tiniest trickles, pools and springs, are home to a vast array of plants and animals. It only takes a little pollution to cause the loss of much of this wildlife. With increasing pressures on the freshwater landscape, it is now more important than ever to find the clean water places, those that are free of pollution, where wildlife can thrive.

Take part in the Thame Water Blitz and help to build up a map of water quality across the Catchment! The Water Blitz will run between the 1st – 31st May.

The survey

You will be supplied with all the necessary materials you need for the survey.

  1. Sign up for your quick kits – Please fill in form below
  2. Decide where you are going to test – Choose places of your own, a local brook or maybe a garden pond, or choose from our selection of sites. Please only test waterbodies on public rights of way or where you have landowner permission. Please use your best judgement and do not trespass. 
  3. Collect a water sample – Use a clean plastic tub or glass jar to collect a water sample. Make sure to rinse it three times in the water you want to test before collecting your water sample to ensure there are no residual nutrients. Please read our health and safety advice found below.
  4. Test your water sample – Use 1 nitrate and 1 phosphate tube to test your water sample for nutrient pollution. Please follow the instructions on your recording form and watch this short how to’ video by Freshwater Habitats Trust for a similar project.
  5. Submit your results – Send in your findings to contribute to the catchment wide survey.
  6. Find out what your results mean – (available soon)


Water Blitz Opening Events

Join us for an introductory talk. Find out why clean water is so important for wildlife and everything else you need to know, before collecting your kits, and heading out to test your local freshwater habitats. Free parking is available at both venues. To book please email Hannah at Booking essential.

  • Saturday 28th April (11:00 – 12:30)

Stone Village Hall, 50 Oxford Rd, Stone, Aylesbury, HP17 8PB.

  • [CANCELLED] Monday 30th April (19:30 – 21:00)

Stadhampton Village Hall, The Green, Stadhampton, Oxford, OX44 7UW

How will the data be used

The water quality data collected through Clean Water Quest will be used to highlight potential areas for future conservation work and to build up a map of water quality across the catchment.

The data will not be used to penalise landowners. Nutrient pollution is a widespread issue that we all can contribute to. Multiple factors may influence a waterbody and there is often more than one source of nutrient pollution.



Taking Part

Preselected sites:

To sign up for our preselected sites please view our online map to select sites near you. You’ll then be posted the number of kits you’ll need.

Self selected sites:

To sign up to places of your choice please fill in the sign up form below or email Hannah at with

  • Your full name
  • The address you would like the kits posted to
  • How many kits you would like – each kit is made up of one nitrate and one phosphate tube. You’ll need a new kit for each waterbody you want to test.
  • Where you are planning on testing
  • Whether you will be attending one of our opening events

Support Materials

Health & Safety Guidance Note

Recording Form

Car Windscreen Notice

Sign up for Clean Water Quest

Sign up to register your interest in taking part in Clean Water Quest
  • If you know how many kits you would like request them now, otherwise we will be in touch with you mid April. You will require a new kit for each site you would like to test. Each kit is made up of 1 Nitrate and 1 Phosphate test tube.
  • At launch events you can collect your kits, get advice on where you can sample, learn about why clean water is important for wildlife and learn how to interpret your results. If you cannot attend your sample kits will be posted.