Mysterious substance washed up on river Orwell banks

Some feared that the mysterious substance washed up on the banks of the river Orwell was toilet tissue.

Some feared that the mysterious substance washed up on the banks of the river Orwell was toilet tissue. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Residents of Wherstead have been assured that a mysterious substance washed up on the banks of the river Orwell is not human sewage. 

Concerned residents contacted the Ipswich Star after large deposits of a pale-looking substance appeared on the area known as the Strand, close to the Orwell Bridge. 

Some questioned whether the substance might be toilet paper, fearing that this could mean the waters had been contaminated by sewage works.  

The area is considered a local beauty spot, and is frequented by wild water swimmers. 

However, spokespersons from the Environment Agency and Anglian Water have both said that this is not the case, and that the mysterious substance is more likely to be a natural substance occurring from the river. 

East of England water provider Anglian Water said that officers had investigated the area, and were satisfied that their assets were in working order, and that there had been no spills to the river in the area.  

A spokesperson said that the substance looked more likely to be dry mud or sediment. 

Experts have said that the substance is more likely to be algae, sediment or dry mud.

Experts have said that the substance is more likely to be algae, sediment or dry mud. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Concerned residents can now be reassured that the substance is not toilet tissue.

Concerned residents can now be reassured that the substance is not toilet tissue. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

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The Environment Agency agreed, and suggested that the substance appeared to be a form of dry algae. 

A spokesperson from The Environment Agency said: “We regulate discharges from sewage treatment works to protect the water quality of the River Orwell.  

“Every significant sewage treatment works has an Environmental Permit with a set of conditions that are designed to protect the ecology of our rivers. 

 “Please report any suspected pollution incidents to our 24/7 incident hotline – 0800 807060.” 

Councillor Christopher Hudson is the Suffolk County Councillor for Belstead Brook.

He said that a “greener Suffolk” was high up on the council’s priorities, as laid out in its mission statement at the election last year.