Acid leaks on to protected marshland

Michael McCarthy
Saturday 20 February 1999 00:02
Comments

ANTI-POLLUTION TEAMS from the Environment Agency and English Nature were striving last night to contain a major leak of industrial acid onto a protected marshland which is a haven for wild birds.

A large amount of hydrochloric acid was discharged onto Greenabella marsh on Teesside from a factory belonging to Tioxide, an ICI subsidiary, which makes titanium dioxide, an ingredient of cosmetics. The marsh is part of the Tees and Hartlepool Foreshore and Wetlands Site of Special Scientific Interest, a network of pools, marsh and mudflats in the Tees estuary, a major wintering place for wading birds.

Greenabella marsh is an important haven for birds such as the curlew, redshank, teal and shelduck. It was feared the local invertebrate life, the shrimps, molluscs and worms on which the birds feed, could become contaminated with the acid and put the birds themselves at severe risk.

The acid is believed to have leaked into a stormwater drain and so out onto the marshland, which Tioxide owns.

The company itself discovered the leak and alerted the Environment Agency, whose officers spent yesterday supervising the pumping of seawater onto the marsh, which by last night was successfully diluting the spill.

The work will go on over the weekend until the water acidity level returns to normal.

Steve Hardy of the Environment Agency said it was one of the worst incidents he had attended. "The water was as acidic as you can get," he said.

Yesterday afternoon the first signs of dead invertebrates were seen but no dead birds had been found.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in