Mystery over the cause of foam on the River Irwell at Radcliffe

An investigation is underway after foam was spotted on the River Irwell at Radcliffe.

Huge foam in the water was spotted late on Wednesday (May 4) with the Environment Agency now scrambling to determine the source of the pollution.

In the past, the riverbed was scorched by chemical pollution, which killed much of the wildlife in the affected area.

The cause of the recent foam has not yet been determined.

Eric Owen, chairman of Little Britain Anglers, said: ‘Yesterday there was a massive 40ft high soap scum in the creek across Asda in Radcliffe from Outwood Road.

“That was the one the Environmental Agency came out and eventually investigated.

“We were told about it at 7am that morning, so we went downstairs and immediately filed a report, as did other people.

“It was basically massive foam coming out of the stream into the river and then down the river for miles and miles.”

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He added: “There have been quite a few pollution incidents. There were five incidents yesterday and many of them are repeat offenders that have been going on for years in the River Irwell at Radcliffe.

“They have been reported to the Environmental Agency and United Utilities have been involved in previous incidents.

“However, this time it was spotted by a member of the public who then contacted us because they know we are the ones who really own things and really push for action.”

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An Environment Agency spokesperson confirmed they were aware of foaming incidents on the River Irwell.

They added: “Our officers have visited the site and are working to understand the source of this pollution.

“However, as investigations are currently ongoing into this incident, we would not be able to comment further at this time so as not to prejudice our investigations.

“Members of the public can report incidents of this nature to our 24/7 helpline on 0800 80 70 60.”

Lee J. Murillo