Oil spill in river probe

INVESTIGATIONS were today underway to trace the source of oil found flowing in the River Orwell.Passers-by in Ipswich were today greeted by the sight of an oily substance on the water flowing under Princes Street bridge.

INVESTIGATIONS were today underway to trace the source of oil found flowing in the River Orwell.

Passers-by in Ipswich were today greeted by the sight of an oily substance on the water flowing under Princes Street bridge.

Birds were seen close by to the multi-coloured slick.

David Tompson , 24, of Valley Road, Ipswich, saw the oily substance while on his way to the railway station.

He said: "I was walking over Princes Street bridge and saw that the water was rainbow-coloured and looked a bit strange.

"It looked as if there was a load of petrol in the river and the seagulls seemed to be avoiding that area.

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"It is the first time I have seen it like this and I walk past every morning."

This comes around three years after the Evening Star reported the then ongoing problem of pollution in the River Orwell.

Speaking earlier today, a spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: "We have had several calls from members of the public this morning about the oily substance in the river. We have got two officers down there trying to trace where it came from.

"But it's only a thin film of oil so it should disperse fairly easily. At the moment, we don't think there is going to be any long-term damage.

"It's probably fuel oil of some sort. I think rivers that flow through towns tend to have bits of oil flowing through them now and then."

She added that the oily substance has been traced as far upstream as Horseshoe Sluice, in the Yarmouth Road area, where the River Orwell becomes the River Gipping.

If thick enough to take a sample, the substance will be tested to see what it is.

Associated British Ports (ABP) is also taking action to make sure oily substance does not enter the port of Ipswich.

Robert Smith, ABP port manager for East Anglia, said: "We are sending one of our trained personnel to the area where the substance would enter our jurisdiction at the New Cut at Stoke Bridge.

"If necessary, it would be dealt with accordingly, possibly by putting a boom in place to stop the substance entering our area."

What do you think about the pollution in the River Orwell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail o eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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