Source of mystery sludge covering Leeds and Liverpool Canal path identified

The sludge first appeared on the South Leeds footpath around six months ago. Credit: Local Democracy Reporting

The source of a mystery paint-like substance that submerged a riverside footpath in West Yorkshire in grey sludge has been identified.

Leeds City Council said a leak from pipes on land belonging to GB Railfreight caused vast amounts of sludge to seep onto the popular towpath on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The problem, between Leeds Dock and Thwaite Watermill, was first reported six months ago on the path that forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail.

The council also said the pipes have now been sealed.

In a statement the council said: "Officers from the council attended the site today and have spoken with representatives of the land owner.

"The company has confirmed that the pipes have been sealed and will be removed and they will be carrying out further investigations as to who is responsible."

GB Railfreight said: "We are aware of the issue at Leeds Hunslet Depot and are working with our tenants to identify the source of the discharge.

"Remediation is already underway and rainwater that washes across the site will no longer be channelled towards the footpath."

Environment Agency officers concluded that the sludge was not a risk to health.

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