VIDEO UPDATE: mine water ‘likely’ cause of River Neath pollution

The Environment Agency Wales (EAW) has now confirmed that water from an old iron ore mine is the most likely cause of pollution in the River Neath, Wales after a 10km stretch of the river was turned bright orange.

The incident was reported to the agency on Friday (September 23) following the discoloration of the river between Abergarwed and Neath town. A number of fish have been found dead as a result of the river pollution – prompting the EAW to consider relocating fish from the area.

EAW spokesman Gavin Bown said: “We are in the process of assessing the impact of the incident and whether it is feasible to rescue any fish in distress.

“Our priority is to minimise the impact of the pollution on the local environment and investigate how and why this has happened.”

Meanwhile, EAW earlier today (September 27) told edieWater that the main stretch of the river and the Garwed Brook is now running clear, but that there are still problems further downstream towards Aberdulais.

Although EAW confirmed the pollution is likely to have come from a mine in the area, it said it was unable to provide confirmation at this stage of its investigation of the exact source, which it is continuing to track.  

The EAW spokesperson told edieWater: “We believe we know what the cause is and are continuing our investigations to confirm this.”

Video: Environment Agency Wales

The river pollution is expected to take several days to clear, but the EAW has now said the extent of the damage to the local environment and wildlife is less than it first thought.

Mr Bown added: “The situation today has improved, and the pollution has largely dispersed. However, the next period of heavy rainfall may disturb some of the residual material in the river, but we don’t expect this to cause further damage to the river or the local wildlife.

“We will continue to monitor the impact of the incident on fish and water quality, but the impact does not appear to be as significant as feared on Friday.”

Carys Matthews

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