August 21, 2008

Pollution on Beach Still Not Identified

A CLEAN-UP operation was launched yesterday on a beach which was closed after a mystery pollution incident.

Workmen and machines from Wansbeck District Council moved on to Cambois Beach near Bedlington to remove the unidentified oily substance which was discovered a week ago.

The work started as results were still awaited from laboratory tests carried out by the Environment Agency to identify the substance and where it came from.

A 300m-400m stretch of beach was closed as a precaution last Thursday after a walker noticed globules of the pollutant on the sand near the high tide mark.

Warning signs were put up, public access points closed and coastal warden patrols introduced while investigations were carried out.

Yesterday a council spokesman said: "We are recovering as much of the material as possible from the beach and temporarily stockpiling it prior to it being taken to an approved disposal site.

"The results of lab tests on the material are not yet back and the beach will remain closed until we find out what the material is and get it fully cleaned up." An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: "We are still waiting for results from the lab and the investigations are continuing." Last week samples were taken and dye run down drains which flush into the sea in an effort to discover where the oil had come from. There is no evidence of any risk to public health.

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