1. West Country (W)

Disused Mine May Pollute River

There are fears that rising water levels at a disused mine in Cornwall could pollute a river.

The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation at Wheal Jane, an abandoned mine near Baldhu.

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Rising water levels at abandoned mine could pollute river

There are fears that rising water levels at a disused mine in Cornwall could pollute a river.

The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation at Wheal Jane, an abandoned mine near Baldhu.

In normal circumstances, mine water leaving the site is pumped and treated to control pollution.

Seven pumps are working at full capacity at the site, but water levels are still rising in the disused mine shaft following the exceptionally heavy rainfall.

The Environment Agency is working with the site operator, Veolia Ltd, and the coal authority, who manage the treatment of water from the mine.

If water levels in the shaft continue to rise faster than the pumps can abstract the water then there is a possibility that some of the water may leave the mine and enter the Carnon River and Fal estuary untreated.

We are doing all we can to monitor the shaft water levels to understand if or when any spill might occur into the Carnon River.

The water is currently rising at a rate which is faster than the pumps can manage.

With the ground saturated after this week’s rain, there is a risk that mine groundwater will continue to rise over the next week.

The bulk of the mine water will continue to be pumped and treated at the maximum rate but there is a risk that a smaller amount may be discharged and we are working with our partners to assess what the impacts might be.

– Mark Pilcher, Environment Agency

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