River Wensum polluted by oil washed from St Andrews car park

St Andrews Car Park, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

St Andrews Car Park, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Pollution in the River Wensum has been traced to oil being cleaned from St Andrews Car park by Norse operatives.

An investigation was launched by the Environment Agency after reports of pollution in the Wensum on June 15, which was the result of oil run-off from the car park on Duke Street.

The contractors for the city council had been cleaning the car park and oil was running down the drain and into the river.

When The Environment Agency were alerted they asked for work to cease immediately, and have asked for alternative methods of cleaning to be used so further incidents do not occur.

Norse have said they are working with the EA to 'ensure future cleaning of the car park takes place without further incident'.

A city council employee, who asked not to be named, said; 'It seems Norse was cleaning oil from St Andrews car park and were putting the cleaning chemical and removed oil down the drain.

'The drains were blocked and the foaming chemical and oil ran into the water causing pollution.'

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The employee added the contract for cleaning the car parks had only been given to Norse by the city council this year.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: 'We received a report of oil pollution on the River Wensum on 15 June 2018. Environment Officers found that this was being discharged from a surface water drain near Duke Street Bridge.

'The source of the pollution was found to be coming from St Andrews Car Park, which was being cleaned.

'The water from the cleaning contained an oily residue and this entered the surface water drains that flow into the Wensum.

'The operatives were asked to stop working which they did immediately and alternative cleaning methods will be used so this does not happen again.

'The incident was very small scale and had minimal impact on the environment.'

A Norse spokesman said: 'We note the Environment Agency's comments. All parties are currently working together to ensure future cleaning of the car park takes place without further incident.'