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Battle to Hold Back Toxic Water from Estuary

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2:36pm 29th November 2012
(Updated 2:36pm 29th November 2012)

There is a battle to stop toxic water flooding out of a disused mine and into the Fal estuary.

The downpours over the last week have mean pumps that usually clear Wheal Jane near Truro can not cope.

On Wednesday night the fire service had to bring in emergency equipment to help.

Pumps are working at full capacity around the clock to try to stop the pollution reaching the Carnon and spilling out into the picturesque estuary.Devoran

That happened in 1992, hitting vital shellfish stocks.

But now a plant put in to prevent a repeat is struggling to cope with the extra water flooding into the mine workings from the downpours.

Teams say they are pumping out the equivalent of sixteen to seventeen thousand bath tubs a day.

A spokesperson for Cornwall Fire and Rescue said: "Fire Service assistance was requested at the decommissioned Wheal Jane Mine in the Carnon Valley. The on-site pumping equipment was struggling to cope with the higher than average level of the water table.

"The Fire Service was asked to help pump water from an addit into a dam to alleviate potential flooding and contamination into the Carnon Valley. The Service has a High Volume Pump on site and operations are ongoing."

One dad living in nearby Devoran said: "Obviously there's a lot of fish, a lot of wildlife down in the creek and it is quite a special area. A lot of our children do play in the creek and you're always aware there might be some background contamination but you don't want anything added to that."

The Environment Agency has been on to the Pirate FM News Centre and says water levels in the mine may take time to respond and could be above normal for the next ten days, but tests on the River Carnon on Thursday at midday  show levels are within normal range.

2:36pm 29th November 2012

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