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UK: Environment Agency called into action to limit River Wandle pollution

Fire at Thames Water's Beddington Sewage Treatment Works (Croydon) causes sewage to enter the River Wandle in South London.

The Environment Agency is busy working with Thames Water to minimise the risk of pollution significantly affecting the River Wandle today (Weds 22 Aug).

This follows a fire breaking out at Thames Water's Beddington sewage treatment works in Croydon late on Tuesday night (21 Aug). As a result of the incident a small discharge of sewage entered the river in South London and some fish were seen to be in distress. Sewage pollution strips out oxygen in the water, leading to fish suffocation.

Environment Agency officers have been working tirelessly to assist Thames Water in deploying specialist pollution prevention equipment overnight and again today. This equipment includes aeration jets that have boosted oxygen levels in the river and this action has significantly reduced the risk of a major fish kill and harm to the river. This emergency response will continue throughout today to further ensure that any impacts on the watercourse are limited.

Mark Douch of the Environment Agency said:

"Environment Agency officers have been working around the clock to minimise any impact this incident has on the environment and to bring the situation under control as quickly as possible. As a result of our efforts with Thames Water, and the support of the Wandle Trust, we have averted what could have been a major fish kill in this popular river.

"We will remain onsite to ensure that all action is taken to prevent any further risk of harm to the river and will oversee the clean-up operation. A full investigation into the incident is currently underway as well as all efforts being focussed on reducing the risk of pollution to the river."


Members of the public can report pollution incidents by calling the Environment Agency’s emergency hotline on 0800 80 70 60.