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I was intrigued by the question Swimming in a river in England or Wales with a right of navigation because there was a tacit assumption that most rivers in England, Wales and Scotland -- or most parts of most rivers -- were what the U.S. Clean Water Act calls swimmable/fishable.

Obviously we can't have a multitude of questions asking if the portion of river R in country C from point A to point B is swimmable/fishable by USCWA standards, but questions about how water quality affects outdoor activities should be on-topic. We have several questions about giardia and drinking from streams in the wilderness, but that seems to be it.

I am just wandering here, and hope there are some more pointed thoughts on how to bring water quality -- and air quality -- into our forum.

As an example: Would a question about what percentage of river length (this would have to be qualified or defined in some way) in England was safe to swim in, and whether environmentally non-swimmable stretches were posted or otherwise indicated, be on topic?

And of course, immediately after I posted this Meta question, I saw this very focussed question on water quality: What are the most likely causes of unfilterable water contamination in upland UK areas?. Are good, focused questions like this the only way to go?

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    Interesting question ab2, and congrats for reaching over 7,000 rep! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Jun 20 '17 at 22:00
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    I'd like to add my congratulations to Sue's, and reassure you that you can swim in almost all rivers in the UK without too much fear of illness. The Thames gets a bit dodgy down by London, and other major cities have the same problem, but upstream of them is usually ok. – Rory Alsop Jun 21 '17 at 19:24
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    In my opinion narrow and clear questions are much better than broad ones as the suggested question about percentage - what real use is that? A question about whether and how non-swimmable areas are identifiable would be good again after this standard: Does the answer have real value in the outdoors. – imsodin Jun 22 '17 at 7:33

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