Driffield News

Middleton pond pollutant is discovered to be diesel

The substance which spilled into the pond in Middleton-on-the-Wolds and threatened to cause an environmental disaster has been confirmed as diesel.

Provisional results obtained from water samples taken by Complete Tank Solutions (CTSL), the company monitoring the situation on behalf of Middleton-on-the-Wolds Parish Council’s insurers, showed evidence of diesel.

As reported in the Wolds Weekly, members of the parish council and residents teamed up with two RSPCA officers and volunteers from Beverley-based charity Bradbury Bird and Wildlife in a bid to rescue animals both on top of and under the water after the contamination was spotted the previous weekend.

For that amount of diesel to get into the water has to either have come from a drain that we don’t know about or, unfortunately, by other means.

Parish councillor Tina Walker

On Monday 23rd May, rescuers spent the majority of the day rounding up ducks and ducklings living in and around the pond which had become soaked with the fuel, first suspected to be heating oil.

In total, six ducks, 15 ducklings and one domestic duck were rescued and taken to Aldgate Veterinary Practice in Driffield to be cleaned before being taken to a sanctuary and transferred to RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre near King’s Lynn.

Some of the ducklings died as a result of the contamination.

To combat further pollution, a boom was placed on the water by the parish council as well as sponge-like pads which soaked up the diesel.

Parish councillor Tina Walker told the Wolds Weekly: “The provisional results from the water samples showed it was diesel which was the substance on the pond.

“How it got there or where it came from, we still don’t know.

“For that amount of diesel to get into the water has to either have come from a drain that we don’t know about or, unfortunately, by other means.

Aldgate Veterinary Practice cleaned the ducks.

“As far as we know, the drain from the main road is blocked, meaning it is unlikely to have come from a vehicle.”

The cost to remove the diesel has been quoted at £6,500 plus VAT which, thankfully for the parish council, will be covered by insurance.

The situation is to be continued to be monitored by CTSL over the coming weeks.

“We’ve got to ensure that nothing else gets into the water in the meantime,” Tina added.

“Thankfully, our clerk, Sandra Morrison, arranged insurance to cover incidents such as these, therefore the parish council will only need to pay £125 excess.

“CTSL, who were appointed by our insurers, have said they want to monitor the situation for another couple of weeks and they’re the experts, so we’re letting them get on with it.”

Tina added that ducks are back on the pond again.

She said: “We have about 15 ducks back on the water, likely those we couldn’t catch, those which flew away during the rescue or have come from elsewhere.

“There are around half-a-dozen ducklings which appear to have grown quite well too and the water doesn’t seem to have any damaging effects on them.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a couple of dead fish, but on the whole, the wildlife situation is a positive one.”

The Environment Agency was heavily criticised for its perceived lack of action during the rescue.

Last month, the EA told the Wolds Weekly it attended the pond in Middleton-on-the-Wolds on Tuesday 24th May.

“The EA have been very quiet on the whole incident,” continued Tina.

“It said that it attended the pond on the Tuesday, but I was one of several people there who saw no sign of any representatives.

“It was described by the EA as a small incident, but it could have easily got into the water system and become a much bigger problem.”

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