Alert as Irwell turns orange
Chris Osuh 31/ 3/2008
THE River Irwell has turned orange again – sparking a major Environment Agency investigation.An 18 to 20 mile stretch of the river has been affected in what the agency describes as a `significant pollution incident’.
Officers were sent to a part of the river between Bacup and Bury, after concerned members of the public began contacting their switchboard at 7.30am today.At this stage it is suspected the problem has been caused by an underground mine collapse at Bacup and the weekend’s heavy downpours. It is believed water is flowing from underground workings at the mine, overwhelming the nearby Old Meadows water treatment plant. This has led to untreated water tainted with iron salts, flooding into the River Irwell and staining it ochre.At this stage it is not known whether the problem will affect household water supplies or if any fish have been killed. Environment Agency experts are taking water samples and photographs from the scene and are assessing the impact of the pollution on the river and its wildlife. A deeper ecological survey will follow.The River Irwell ran bright orange in Bacup for thirty years until 1999, when a clean-up operation was completed. The £1m engineering scheme was launched after a 1997 Coal Authority survey identified the stretch as as having the fourth worst case of minewater pollution in the country.
now you know why the irwell is a catch and release water!
Hopefully the fish and other aquatic life have not been affected as proved by Tonys catching the day after this pollution incident took place. When i go fishing tomorrow i am going to go bug hunting to check that food sources are still alive there.