Orange juice leak turns river yellow

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A river turned yellow after thousands of litres of orange juice colouring spilled into it, the Environment Agency said.

Eight thousand litres of brightly coloured liquid used in the manufacture of Sunny Delight leaked into a tributary of the river Parrett in Somerset. Environment Agency officers were called to Gerber Foods after a local drainage board reported that a nearby drainage ditch had turned bright yellow. The pollution was traced to an underground storage tank that leaked the concentrate liquid into a ditch. It drained into a culvert before entering the drainage ditch.

Three tankers were brought by Gerber Foods to suck the Sunny Delight concentrate out of the drainage ditch. The company also had a digger excavate a trench to prevent further pollution.

Checks by the Environment Agency showed dissolved oxygen levels in the drainage ditch had dropped to 8 per cent compared with the usual 60 per cent. Officers saw fish in distress on the surface. Low levels of dissolved oxygen suffocate fish.

The concentrate was transferred to the storage tank on Tuesday evening after the liquid was found to be sub-standard and unsuitable for use in the company's drinks. The liquid escaped through a hole in the base of the tank.