Stockton residents warned to keep away from polluted beck

20 April 2011

Stockton residents are being warned not to enter Lustrum Beck after a large discharge of sewage was found along a three kilometre stretch from Primrose Hill to where it meets the River Tees.

Environment Agency officers were alerted to the incident yesterday, Tuesday 19 April. The sewage entered the beck inside a culvert which runs beneath the A177 and railway line in the town near Primrose Hill.

Officers at the Environment Agency and the Environmental Health department at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council are advising that local people stay clear of the beck for their own safety during this period of dry weather. Dog walkers are also advised to keep their pets on a lead to stop them entering the beck.

Graeme Hull, Environment Management Team Leader at the Environment Agency said: “While we have this good weather, children are on holiday, and a Bank Holiday coming up, it is important that they keep away from the beck and avoid playing in it or near it. We are currently investigating to see what impact this sewage has had on any wildlife.”

Environment Agency officers are currently on site assessing the impact that the sewage may have had on wildlife and collecting any evidence of damage. The discharge of sewage was stopped by Northumbrian Water yesterday but will take some time to clear through the system.

The recent spell of dry weather and lack of rainfall has made the situation worse, so there is less water to flush the sewage through the beck. Residents may notice white or grey sewage fungus collecting on the bed of the beck, but this should clear naturally over the next few days.

Residents living on or by watercourses are urged to report any cases of pollution to the Environment Agency by calling the incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Media enquiries: 0113 231 2381 / 2469 / 2373 or outside normal office hours, please call 0800 80 70 60.

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