Cyanide sparks River Trent pollution probe

A A A

An investigation was under way today into how untreated sewage and cyanide made its way into part of one of the country's major rivers.

Thousands of fish have already died and more wildlife is at risk following the "pollution incident" in the River Trent in Staffordshire.

The Environment Agency yesterday issued a warning for people and animals to keep out of the river between Stoke-on-Trent and Yoxall, after the pollution made it a potential health risk.

A spokeswoman said: "This is due to untreated sewage and cyanide at levels that are potentially a cause for concern, especially with regard to fish, wildlife and animals. Thousands of fish have already died.

"The warning to stay out of the river applies to everyone, including farmers, anglers, dog walkers, boaters and anyone using the river for work or pleasure.

"We have also received advice from the Food Standards Agency that people should stop extracting water temporarily so water should not be taken out of the river for any reason."

She said it was also important to keep all animals away from the water, including farm animals and dogs.

"We are tracking the pollution as it moves downstream," the spokeswoman added.

"It is likely to travel downstream of Yoxall (today), reaching Burton on Trent area late (this afternoon) by which time it will have been diluted so the risk may well have reduced."

She said officers were monitoring the situation.

The Environment Agency was working with "key partners", she said.

An investigation has been launched into the cause, but she said this could not be discussed for legal reasons.

The RSPCA urged members of the public not to go near any animals in distress but instead to report any sightings to the charity.

A spokeswoman said: "What we're trying to advise members of the public to do is if they see any animals in distress not to go near them but to report them to our Cruelty and Advice line, like details of where, what and so on.

"We will probably be having a team go to the area and we will be getting involved with the Environment Agency and other agencies.

"We expect there will be quite a big clean-up operation involved.

"For those people with livestock we would remind them to get them away from the area as safely as possible."

Anyone who spots animals in difficulty is asked to call the RSPCA's Cruelty and Advice line on 0300 1234 999.

The Environment Agency manages fisheries, flood defence, navigation, recreation and nature conservation. In Scotland, the River Purification Boards control river pollution.

The Water Resources Act 1991 allows the Environment Agency to police the use of water in England and Wales.

Just last month in a separate incident, water company Severn Trent Water was fined almost £7,000 for allowing pollution to enter the River Trent after a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency.

The company was fined £6,700 and ordered to pay costs of £2,777.80 at Stafford Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to causing sewage pollution to enter the River Trent.

Suggested Topics
News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?