River monitored close to fire site

As the fire smoulders, the water quality of the River Cole is being monitored by Environment Agency equipment

As the fire smoulders, the water quality of the River Cole is being monitored by Environment Agency equipment

First published in News by , Reporter

THE Environment Agency is monitoring the water quality in the River Cole to check whether it has been contaminated by the fire at Averies Recycling.

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is still at the site in Marshgate attempting to put out the blaze which started on Monday, July 21. Since the fire began smoke has continually been seen across Swindon.

Firefighters are working with Averies, Swindon Council, NHS England, Wiltshire Police and the Environment Agency to investigate the cause and reduce the affect the smoke is having on residents and neighbouring businesses.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said the authority had raised concerns of a potential fire risk at Averies during a routine visit earlier this year.

The spokesperson said: “When the fire started we deployed our national air quality monitoring team to provide information to the response. This has now been transferred to Swindon Council. We have also installed water quality monitoring into the River Cole which provides real-time monitoring to our staff.

“We are working with our partners to ensure extinguished waste is being safely removed from the site by the operator. Our officers are at the receiving waste site together with officers from the Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to ensure that the extinguished waste is transferred safely. The multi-agency response is being hampered by the site operator’s delay in providing responses to requests for information.

“We prosecuted the site in the last year with a £73,000 fine issued as a result. A number of improvement conditions were placed on the site requiring changes in site infrastructure and management to meet the permit conditions. A bund has beenbuilt along the edge of the site, this is currently preventing contaminated fire water entering the River Cole.”

Firefighters have also struggled getting round the site which has hampered their efforts to put the blaze out.

Residents living nearby are getting frustrated that the fire has been allowed to burn for 11 days. It is thought the fire will continue for the foreseeable future also.

Edward Browning, 76, who lives in Stratton Road, said: “I live opposite the fire and I think allowing it to burn for so long is mismanagement. We are still suffering from large clouds of smoke which the wind blows in our direction. I’m forced to close the windows which isn’t ideal during the hot weather.

“I’m surprised the firefighters haven’t put foam on the fire and surely Averies shouldn’t have had so much waste on site. Perhaps they should consider moving to an out of town site so that if anything like this happened again in the future less people would be affected.”

Anyone concerned about inhaling smoke should call NHS 111.

Swindon Council has also appealed to members of their staff living near the fire to monitor the smoke levels from their homes.

A spokesperson said: “There was an appeal put out internally to staff to see whether they’d be prepared to put monitoring equipment in place. We are monitoring at the site but staff were asked because the wind changes direction of the smoke and we don’t have council buildings nearby to monitor it from.”

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:52am Fri 1 Aug 14

grakew123 says...

This has gone on far to long now, should be sorted out asap at the companys expense.What compensation can the nearby families effected expect ?.I dont live nearby but simpathize with the families living close.
This has gone on far to long now, should be sorted out asap at the companys expense.What compensation can the nearby families effected expect ?.I dont live nearby but simpathize with the families living close. grakew123
  • Score: 16

7:43am Fri 1 Aug 14

Chowmai says...

I am not a fire fighting expert so I wonder if anyone who is could explain whether or not using fire suppressant foam would be a better option than just hosing it down.
If the reason is simply one of cost then surely Averies insurers should cover this.
If it is a matter of physics then I step back cap in hand at my ignorance of its abilities.
I am not a fire fighting expert so I wonder if anyone who is could explain whether or not using fire suppressant foam would be a better option than just hosing it down. If the reason is simply one of cost then surely Averies insurers should cover this. If it is a matter of physics then I step back cap in hand at my ignorance of its abilities. Chowmai
  • Score: 12

10:29am Fri 1 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

Chowmai wrote:
I am not a fire fighting expert so I wonder if anyone who is could explain whether or not using fire suppressant foam would be a better option than just hosing it down.
If the reason is simply one of cost then surely Averies insurers should cover this.
If it is a matter of physics then I step back cap in hand at my ignorance of its abilities.
From what has been said so far it seems to be a balancing act between polluting the river or the air as to stop it completely. They either have to use chemicals that would get into the water supply or let it burn itself out with all the air pollution. Either way the company should be footing the bill as clearly they were at fault.
[quote][p][bold]Chowmai[/bold] wrote: I am not a fire fighting expert so I wonder if anyone who is could explain whether or not using fire suppressant foam would be a better option than just hosing it down. If the reason is simply one of cost then surely Averies insurers should cover this. If it is a matter of physics then I step back cap in hand at my ignorance of its abilities.[/p][/quote]From what has been said so far it seems to be a balancing act between polluting the river or the air as to stop it completely. They either have to use chemicals that would get into the water supply or let it burn itself out with all the air pollution. Either way the company should be footing the bill as clearly they were at fault. house on the hill
  • Score: 3

10:32am Fri 1 Aug 14

The Real Librarian says...

The consequence of this fire should be that all recycling centres, including the council tip, are moved out of town.

The air quality around the site is disgusting. A friend has a 14 week old son whose throat is raw from living with a bonfire for the last two weeks.

Balls to the river, the FB should put the fire out, now.
The consequence of this fire should be that all recycling centres, including the council tip, are moved out of town. The air quality around the site is disgusting. A friend has a 14 week old son whose throat is raw from living with a bonfire for the last two weeks. Balls to the river, the FB should put the fire out, now. The Real Librarian
  • Score: 9

12:36pm Fri 1 Aug 14

cjones03824 says...

Screw the river- what about my tight chest and symptoms caused from continuously breathing this smoke in over the past two weeks!!
Screw the river- what about my tight chest and symptoms caused from continuously breathing this smoke in over the past two weeks!! cjones03824
  • Score: 5

1:06pm Fri 1 Aug 14

ctrctr says...

Still believe if the firemen had not been on strike the day the fire started , it wouldn't have got in this state .the reserve fire men done there best while the regular firemen were sun bathing out the front of there station , the only thing they had to worry about was getting a all over sun tan. Mean while Swindon was burning. Well done chaps really feel like supporting you now.
Still believe if the firemen had not been on strike the day the fire started , it wouldn't have got in this state .the reserve fire men done there best while the regular firemen were sun bathing out the front of there station , the only thing they had to worry about was getting a all over sun tan. Mean while Swindon was burning. Well done chaps really feel like supporting you now. ctrctr
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree