CWN - News & Information for Coventry & Warwickshire 20x21spacer.gif (59 bytes)What's New?Search CWN

Warning: Keep Away From River Anker

Fish were killed, and people warned to keep away from the river after polluted water from a chemical factory leaked into a watercourse.

The Environment Agency and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service attended a large fire on Tuesday night at Abbey Metal-Finishing Ltd's factory, Weddington Road, Nuneaton.

The fire service said a quarter of the building was lost to the fire and the rest was badly damaged by smoke. Contaminated run-off from the water used to extinguish the fire entered the River Anker.

Fire service officers worked to minimise the amount of contaminated run-off entering watercourses by blocking off drains and retaining what run-off they could. Two fire-fighters were taken to hospital but were released later. 

The Environment Agency officers were on site and monitored the situation throughout the night. 

They tracked the pollution as it moved downstream towards Atherstone and Polesworth, sampling the mass of the pollution or 'plug', which contained several chemicals. All individuals and companies registered by the Agency to remove water from the river were warned. 

Warwickshire County Council issued a number of public broadcasts during the morning, warning people to stay away from the river for recreational activities such as fishing and swimming and local schools and other agencies were also contacted.

About 20 fish were killed by the pollution near where the pollution entered the river. Officers from the Environment Agency's Fisheries and Ecology function visited the site during the day and carried out a full environmental impact assessment.

The 'plug' contained a number of chemicals, including cyanide, but exact quantities are not yet known and analysis is continuing. As it moves downstream, the plug will be diluted continuously and full dispersal is predicted by Friday morning.

The Environment Agency's Environment Protection Manager for Upper Trent,  David Lowe, said: 

“Over the years, the Agency has built up a strong relationship with the fire service. Tuesday’s successful operation was testament to this relationship; combining the fire service's investment in pollution control equipment; and the training and support supplied by the Agency. 

“We worked together to minimise the environmental impact of the fire but inevitably a limited amount of pollution occurred. 

“We have been tracking and monitoring the pollution during the day and we are confident that it is dispersing at a satisfactory rate. The full make up of the pollution and further environmental impact, if any, will be known later.

“The Agency is prepared to act if there are any signs of environmental threat but at the moment the Agency's priority is to ensure that the pollution disperses.”

Ironically, the Environment Agency and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service were this week collaborating in a major conference in Warwick concerning emergency planning for pollution events such as this.

1x22rule.gif (89 bytes)
Win prizes everyday with the CWN competition!

150x15more.gif (274 bytes)

CWN / Crimes, Fires & Accidents / 29 Jun 00

©1995-2000 Coventry Internet Developments Ltd

This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM