Update On Recent Reported Pollution Incidents

We have a long, and ever growing dialogue with the Environment Agency regarding the large number of pollution incidents which take place on the River Irwell system…

In addition to this dialogue with the EA about incidents… we are also in regular contact about the long standing poor (but improving) chemical content of the water…… and the frequency and volume of legal discharges of raw untreated sewage from our local utility company

Here is an update on some of the recent pollution events.

Crown Oil, 10,000+ litres of heating oil allowed to escape into River Roch – – a 2012 Category 2 (significant) incident resulted in the company receiving a formal caution. A 2014 incident was attended but not substantiated

Briggs Demolition – long term effects of poor enforcement? (Diffuse pollution from illegal landfill site, already prosecuted by the EA and let off by courts with reduced fine to enable environmental clean up which has never taken place. Ongoing pollution from this site results in massively depleted kick sample results downstream of this point.) Our enforcement was completed several years ago. This is now a contaminated land site for which queries should be addressed to the local authority   – a further update on this site is that UU are considering remediation works to enable access to their sewer network – this has to be good news

 Bradshaw Brook 2013 UU contractor HCL acid – hundreds of fish deaths – Prosecution complete nearly £1m in fines https://www.gov.uk/government/news/united-utilities-and-contractors-fined-almost-1m-for-polluting-brook-with-corrosive-bleach

Warth Fold Hydro – built without a fish pass! – regularly breaches abstraction consents by running all the river flow through its turbine and sometimes taking more flow than the river has, thus depleting pool above, then drying out river below while the pool above the weir refills. Also EA have allowed the hydro operator to but batons on top of the weir to increase the head of the retained pool of water above the weir, and direct more flow through the turbine!!! How can any of this be legal? – No response from the EA – update 2017 The EA cannot enforce a fish pass be constructed on these dreadful schemes (example Bury Community Hydro)  

Ringley Waste Water Treatment Works  split main 1 2013–massive amount of eaw sewage entered the watercourse during low flow dry period….. category 2 (significant) incident United Utilities accepted a formal caution

Ringley Waste Water Treatment Works / Rhodes Farm split sludge pipe 2 2013 same area – different pipe – (a second low pressure pipe rupture under the River Irwell – Category 3 (minor) incident warning letter

Bury Waste Water Treatment Works –  no screening on inlet (EA no comment – UU’s comment was that they don’t need one because the EA have never asked them to put one in) Assessment of the impact of this is ongoing in order to establish what improvements if any are required under forthcoming AMP schemes – SFAS will be asking for this practice to be reviewed in the next round of United Utilties Asset Management Planing 6

Fly Tipping in Bury and Radcliffe – using river banks as landfill – plus other industrial related fly tipping (neither EA nor Council take any responsibility) Not an EA Matter – Matter for Bury Council
 April 2014 Irwell turns green – then white – no feedback – no prosecution of building site (EA claim no knowledge of this incident despite EA and UU responding) Polluter not identified no further action
April 2014 Wince Brook (EA investigated and found no evidence of pollution despite photographs from anglers showing source of pollution and the river running milky white) Polluter not identified no further action
July 2014 Tesco Haslingden 10,000 litres fuel (no comment – ongoing criminal investigation) Guilty pleas entered sentencing due summer 2017
Dec 2014 Irwell turns white (again) – anglers locate source of pollution to Rakem Chemicals – Category 2 incident (significant but discoloration only – effectively a white dye) formal caution accepted by Rakem Ltd 
SFAS have asked angling club members to report the worst/most foul sewage overflows – we have then taken this information forwards to UU and to the EA and asked for these locations to be investigated and prioritised..
We are very glad to report to members that our views and observations are both listened to and acted upon.
Some of the worst performing pipes are cleaned immediately… others are noted as being “in need of improvement”
We are pleased to inform you that the sewage overflows at Nuttall Park in Bury, Moses Gate in Bolton, Bury Bridge and Elton in Bury are now high on the list for remediation in the next round of capital spending from UU….. there are many more locations where the sewage system is going to upgraded which will improve the water quality of our rivers……… many many thanks to our members for highlighting the grot spots so that we have make those responsible aware,, and to encourage action…
Well done to all our members …. please keep the reports and photos coming in…
Shit pipe 004 irwell pollution 1
Irwell pollution againirk orange

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