Probe over purple brook in Wigan

An image captured by a reader of the pollution
An image captured by a reader of the pollution
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An investigation is now underway after pollution has temporarily turned a Wigan waterway purple.

Environment Agency officials have stepped in to probe recurring problems with Hawkley Brook, off Dunoon Drive, amid concerns it’s affecting nearby wildlife.

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An unnamed firm is now said to be assisting the agency with its inquiry, in a bid to stem the source of the persistent contamination.

A resident, who asked not to be named, confirmed the incidents had been taking place for a number of weeks.

He said: “There’s a culvert and on a bad day the water comes out of it a light purple colour. It’s really muddy, so you can’t see anything.

“There’s also foam that gathers round by the gate , which is 20 yards away. That can be up to six inches thick.

“You can tell because it’s near Hawkley Brook and the water in that is lovely and clear. You can see stones on the bottom and sometimes there are ducks there.

“The water from that pipe goes straight into the Flashes. If it was coming out of my washing machine someone would be taking me to task pretty quickly. But because it’s a company they don’t seem to be doing a lot about it.

“There’s obviously the ecological concern of this. I don’t want to be seeing the bottom half of swans purple in the fullness of time.”

Coun Pat Holland, who represents Worsley Mesnes ward, said she had alerted the council and Environment Agency about the matter.

She added: “This is such a great area for wildlife that this does need addressing as quickly as possible.”

Ian Gaskell, an environment officer from the EA, said: “We are currently investigating water pollution issues at Hawkley Brook, where the brook has been reported to have turned a black/purple colour.

“We are working with a local company and together we are doing everything we can to trace and fix the source of the problem to reduce the impact on the local community and prevent this issue from happening again.

“The complexity and size of the site and underground channels in this area means it is a complex and difficult task, requiring specialist equipment.

“Pollution incidents can cause distress to local communities, reduce water quality and spoil ecosystems. Environment Agency staff respond to pollution incidents 24/7 to contain pollution and protect water quality.”

Mr Gaskell has urged anyone to report pollution issues at Hawkley Brook, or any other waterway or land-based site, to their hotline on 0800 80 70 60.