River Irwell suffers serious pollution for the second time in three weeks

The River Irwell appears to have been polluted for a second time in three weeks. Countless fish and insects died following reports a pesticide which was poured down a drain and devastated a 25-mile stretch of the river from Rawtenstall into Manchester city centre earlier this month. Now a second incident has been reported on a section of the Irwell north of Bury. The incident has been reported to the Environment Agency. Mike Duddy, chief executive of the Mersey Basin Rivers Trust, said virtually no river life had survived the previous incident. He said in a statement on the trust’s website: “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 three weeks ago where pesticide was poured down a drain, entered the river and killed nearly all water life for over 25 miles.” He added: “The recovery of the River Irwell has been 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 setback for the river and all those who work so hard to bring these improvements about.” Following the previous incident, experts said the toxin had made its way through the sewer network and sewage treatment beds before entering the river via a water treatment works outflow. The damage was first discovered by two anglers, who found hundreds of dead crayfish, which have been left without food because so many insects were killed, floating in the river. It led to fears of a significant impact on migratory birds.

Source: Manchester Evening News, 24 April 2017