PS2m Boost for PS2m Boost for Stream Clean-Up; Environment Agency Adds to PS700,000 Bill So Far

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Byline: MIKE MORGAN mike.morgan@eveninggazette.co.uk

A STREAM polluted by old ironstone mines in Saltburn is to benefit from a multi-million pound clean-up.

Environment Agency chiefs say Saltburn Gill changed colour overnight on May 18, 1999, when polluted from a nearby mine which closed in the 1960s.

The pollution had a devastating effect on river life, turning the stream orange and depositing large amounts of iron oxide on the river bed and banks, up to where it meets Skelton Beck above Saltburn beach.

The agency has been working with the Coal Authority and Saltburn Gill Action Group to design a scheme to treat the pollution and transform the stream back to a top quality coastal stream.

More than PS700,000 has been spent so far and now it's announced a further PS2m is earmarked to clean-up the orange-stained beck.

Cash for the clean-up is coming from a PS10.5m Defra fund to combat problems caused by abandoned metal mines in England.

Dominic Shepherd, regional water quality manager for the Environment Agency, said: "The mine water will be treated to a high quality which will allow the stream to regenerate, bringing life back to the once dead waters.

"The work will be carried out in two phases - first water will be pumped from the old mine workings until the current discharges dry up, which could take a year. When pumping has stabilised groundwater levels, a treatment scheme will be built."

This will filter iron from the mine water before it enters the stream by using a series of ponds. It's the same tried and tested process the Coal Authority uses at more than 60 treatment schemes around Britain. …