Foam on River Wandle caused by waste plant fire

A serious fire at a waste tyre processing facility on the Purley Way, Croydon, resulted in a large quantity of foam, used to fight the fire, collecting on the River Wandle.

The fire, which broke out last Thursday (Sep 22), caused a section of the A23 to be closed while firefighters tackled the blaze. The water and foam used to bring the fire under control ran into the Wandle via the surface water drainage system.

According to the Environment Agency (EA), banks of foam collected along a 10km stretch of the river. However, it stressed that the Fire Brigade did consult with the EA prior to the foam being used, and it did not expect there to be any impact on the wildlife in the area.

Commenting last week EA area base controller Barrie Neaves said: “Our officers have been working closely with the Fire Brigade to minimise the amount of foam on the river. Although it looks quite dramatic, we don’t expect there to be any impact on the local wildlife. The foam is non-toxic and water based, so it will evaporate and or become diluted in the river.”

EdieWater contacted the EA for an update today and a spokesperson confirmed that, while there are still traces of the foam on the river, “the vast majority has dispersed”, there has been no evidence of environmental damage or fish death and oxygen levels in the water are near normal.

Will Parsons

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