Safety and water

Activities near water always present a safety risk. Volunteers should only carry out sampling and use the RiverDip app after the completion of the required training. Please observe the following Health and Safety Policy instructions when carrying out the sampling activity:


Please bear the following points in mind.

  • Never attempt any sampling unaccompanied.
  • Rivers can rise quickly after heavy rain. When in flood, keep as far away from the waterway as possible and do not attempt to collect water samples.
  • Banks may overhang the river. There is a risk that they are unstable and may collapse.
  • River banks and paths leading to water are often slippery, so ensure you wear appropriate footwear.
  • Do not trespass on private property.
  • Do not put yourself at risk in order to take a photograph or collect a water sample.
  • Always collect water samples from a safe access point.

Health and hygiene

Areas of open water contain bacteria and other micro-organisms. The risk of contracting illness is small if sensible precautions are followed:

  • Avoid swallowing river water.
  • Wash your hands before eating.
  • Cover all cuts and abrasions with waterproof plasters and avoid contact with the water.
  • Wear gloves whilst carrying out field work
  • Contact with some river side plants can cause burns or rashes. If you have such symptoms after touching a plant, seek medical advice.
  • Weil's Disease (Leptospirosis) can be contracted via contact with infected water. If you experience 'flu-like' symptoms after coming into contact with water from river, lake or canal, seek immediate medical advice.

Participating in the RiverDip citizen science programme is done at the volunteer’s own risk. The Sullied Sediments project and its partners are not liable for any damage or injury sustained by the RiverDip volunteer or third parties.

For more information on safety and water, please visit the Canal and River Trust website:

Register your interest in volunteering

The RiverDip programme is currently on hold and we are not able to accept new volunteer registrations at the present time. We would, however, like to hear from volunteer groups who are interested in getting involved in sampling in the spring and summer. If you lead such a group or belong to one, please complete the registration below. Thank you.

(optional, must be 16 year or older)

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