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Disaster averted as mine water threatens oysters

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

Disaster averted as mine water threatens oysters

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Efforts to prevent contaminated waters leaching out of a disused, flooded mine shaft appear to have paid off.

It was feared that rising water at the abandoned mine at Wheal Jane, near Baldhu – a hamlet near Truro – could spill out into the Carnon River.

This could have leaked into the Fal Estuary, a designated marine Special Area of Conservation, and home of the UK's only wild oyster breeding ground, it was feared.

However, the Environment Agency said yesterday an additional high volume pump, which was deployed by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, had helped stem rising water levels.

The pump was put in place on Wednesday evening and remained there overnight and yesterday.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said that along with the seven pumps that were already being used, the additional equipment meant it was now possible to treat water leaving the mine.

The threat was first reported by site operator, Veolia Ltd, which notified the authorities after registering rising water levels in the main mine shaft.

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

The Environment Agency said it had been working with the site operator and the coal authority, which manages the treatment of water from the mine, to monitor rising water levels at the site.

The agency warned that if the mine water levels in the shaft continued to rise faster than the pumps could extract the water then there was a possibility that some of the water could leave the mine and enter the Carnon River untreated.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said the situation at Wheal Jane was under constant monitoring.

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  • poldice  |  November 30 2012, 11:43AM

    I am not scientifically qualified but believe that all life evolves around the circumstances it finds itself in at any given time... I the light of various sensational stories about the undoubted toxicity of the mineralised Carnon River two things give me hope. It should be remembered that when the Gwennap mines were at peak production the contaminants entering the Fal estuary via Restronguet Creek must have been off the scale while the oyster fishery was a massive one well into the 20th century until bonamia decimated the stock. Over the ensuing years harbour ragworms in Restronguet Creek appear to have evolved into a sub species capable of dealing with their toxic environment, in reality far more harm was probably done to the ecosystem from excessive nutrient enrichment from sewage discharges and agricultural fertilser run off.

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  • shagrats  |  November 30 2012, 8:50AM

    Thers only so much Arsenic and Cabmimum I like with my seafood !

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  • cheekyman_jr  |  November 30 2012, 8:37AM

    Good news...

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