Agency works to improve the water quality

Efforts are being made to improve water quality at a Northumberland burn.

The Horton Burn at Cramlington, has suffered a number of pollution incidents and the Environment Agency has been working with partners, including Northumbrian Water, to identify the causes and find solutions.

The main impact appears to be the spilling and leaking of oils and chemicals from nearby industrial estates.

Neil Paisley, from the Environment Agency’s environmental management team, said: “We work with Northumbrian Water to investigate reports of pollution in the burn and try to find the source, which can be difficult as there are 17km of surface water sewer running through the industrial estates.

“In addition pollution incidents can often be short lived or may have been sitting in the sewer for a number of days.

“We’ve been placing tracers in sewers to try to identify sources of pollution, have delivered pollution prevention leaflets to businesses and we’ve carried out visits to estate landlords to encourage them to educate their tenants on the impact of spillages.”

Mike Madine, Northumbrian Water’s sewerage and new development manager, said: “We’re committed to protecting the environment and this initiative will encourage our customers to help us look after the water courses in their local community.

“We appreciate that wrong connections may have been made many years ago and property owners may not be aware. They could also have happened accidentally or been made in ignorance or by carelessness when extensions or house alterations were built.

“Everyone can play a part in protecting our environment by checking connections are correct.”