ENVIRONMENT Agency workers are dealing with an oil spill of around 5,000 gallons which has polluted 2.5 kilometres of the River Lark in Bury St Edmunds.
Staff were alerted to the spillage, which happened on the Eastern Way Industrial Estate, at 10pm on Monday and worked through the night to limit damage to the river.
Oil was discocvered entering the river upstream of the Compiegne Way road bridge and teams worked through the night spreading absorbent pads to try to prevent the oil spreading further.
On Tuesday, more absorbent materials were put into the river to try to soak-up as much oil as possible.
Environment manager Kevin Rutterford, said: “This incident highlights how polluting oil can be and why it’s important to ensure oil is stored safely to prevent it escaping into the environment.
“We’re making sure as much of the oil as possible is cleaned-up, but it has affected a long stretch of the Lark and we will be keeping a close eye on the river for some time to come.”
The oil has travelled 2.5km downstream and polluted the River Lark as it runs through Tesco’s car park, under Tollgate Bridge and into the Suffolk Golf and Country Club. The combination of thick reeds and absorbent pads is holding the oil back at this point and it was not expected to travel any further.
The Environment Agency said that damage so far appeared to be limited, but a clean-up operation to remove as much oil as possible from the surface water system and river has been started and is likely to continue for several days.
The Environment Agency has also collected samples and is conducting an investigation into how the spillage happened.
The local authority, water users and downstream abstractors have all been informed of the spill.