Oil slick ‘could have been catastrophic’ for Doncaster nature reserve

It could be months before the effects of an oil slick on the wildlife at Potteric Carr nature reserve are known, say bosses.  

Officials at the Environment Agency were called in to deal with the two-mile slick, which was found in a stream which passed through the reserve, described as a ‘serious pollution incident’ near the Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, Doncaster. 

Environment Agency officers at the site of an oil slick in a stream called the mother drain,  which goes through Potteric Carr nature reserve, Doncaster, before joining the Rover Torne

Environment Agency officers at the site of an oil slick in a stream called the mother drain, which goes through Potteric Carr nature reserve, Doncaster, before joining the Rover Torne

It was suspected as coming from an industrial estate.

Officials at the nature reserve believe there is no more oil coming into the stream and that it has now largely been removed.

The Environment Agency is leaving equipment in place at the nature reserve over the weekend, to soak up the oil and prevent it spreading. Most of it has been soaked up, say EA officials, but they were leaving the equipment in case  rain washed any more oil into the water.

Andy Dalton, gateway manager at Potteric Carr nature service for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We’ve been working with the Environment Agency, and it looks like the oil slick it is disappearing.

“It is too early to assess how it has affected the wildlife, and we will keep any eye out for any effect it may have had on species like kingfishers or banded demoiselle flies.

“If it had happened later in the year it could have been catastrophic, but I think the EA have dealt with it well.”

The slick affects a stream known as the Mother Drain, which flows into the River Torne. The slick was stopped before it reached the river, said the Environment Agency.

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Agency officers contained the oil slick with absorbent booms and oil absorbent pads have also been brought in to start the clear up process.

As oil floats on the surface of the water, these booms stop it spreading and the pads soak it up without interfering with wildlife and the flow of the river.

Whilst the exact source of the oil has still not been established, EA officials said in a statement it has been narrowed down to the nearby Balby Carr Industrial Estate area.

Rosie Foster, Area Incident Controller, at the Environment Agency said: “We look to have contained the pollution for now with the booms we put out across the river so we can now concentrate on the clean-up.

“It is hard to judge the environmental impact at this point, but as oil generally sits on top of the water the aquatic life below should be ok, although we will be keeping a close eye for wildlife that has come into contact with the oil and the riverbanks for any effects.”

“Investigations are ongoing to find the exact source of the oil and we have taken samples to allow us to identify the exact type of oil involved. If anybody has information about where the oil came from or if a local business has had an accident that they have not yet reported to us could they please contact our helpline.”

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