Anger As River Irwell Polluted Again

Social media exploded this morning as angry nature lovers in North Manchester discovered a second major pollution incident taking place within a month on the River Irwell north of Bury.

Photographs (see below) taken early on Sunday morning near Bury, Greater Manchester show the River Irwell turning white with foam.

Polluted River Irwell At Burrs Country Park, Bury

Polluted River Irwell At Burrs Country Park, Bury

Irwell Pollution Burrs Country Park Bury

Irwell Pollution Burrs Country Park Bury

There were no dead fish or insects reported this time  but as Mike Duddy CEO of the Mersey Basin Rivers Trust says “we didn’t expect to see any dead or dying wildlife as there was very wildlife left surviving after the previous devastating event which took place only 3 weeks ago – where pesticide was poured down a drain, entered the river and killed nearly all water life for over 25 miles”

River Irwell Pollution icebergs of foam at Bury Weir

River Irwell Pollution icebergs of foam at Bury Weir

Volunteers from the Rivers Trust found the source of the white foam/liquid entering the river and reported the pollution incident to the Environment Agency via their emergency pollution hotline 0800 807060 – and EA officers immediately responded and have taken water samples away for analysis.

Heres a link to a short video showing what we think is the source of the pollution incident

It is important to remember at this early stage in investigations that though the pollution appears to be coming from a waste water treatment works outfall into the river – the pollutant could have entered the sewage network upstream of the treatment works and therefore its not the water utility companies fault. We all need to keep an open mind despite our anger.

Local resident Nicole told us that she first noticed that there was excess foam in the river on Thursday but didn’t know how or who to report the incident to (Environment Agency 0800 807060 )

Mike Duddy added “The recovery of the River Irwell has been one of the biggest environmental recovery stories of the last 25 years – the river polluted so badly by the Industrial Revolution now holds the countries best stocks of brown trout and other fish which support Kingfishers, Otters and Dippers- this latest event is a massive set back for the river and all those who work so hard to bring these improvements about”

Updates to follow as we get more news from the Environment Agency as to the chemical that has entered the water course – and if a prosecution will follow.

Mersey Basin Rivers Trust are looking to expand their group of volunteer river pollution watchers – if you would like to be trained to monitor pollution on your local stream or river please contact the Mersey Basin Rivers Trust via volunteer@merseybasin.org

Click this link to find out more about the pollution incident which took place on the 3rd April

25+Mile Pollution Disaster On River Irwell