Concerns raised over contaminated water

Ivor Rackham. Picture by The Ambler
Ivor Rackham. Picture by The Ambler

Investigations have been carried out after allegations of poisoned groundwater at Low Hauxley.

Environmental campaigner Ivor Rackham recently carried out an investigation into floodwater and quicksand at Hauxley.

He claims that there are large quantities of manganese in water samples taken from the beach. Manganese poisoning can result in symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease.

The Coal Authority and Environment Agency has said they are undertaking investigations, and sampling will also be carried out by Northumberland Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority, who expressed concern.

Ivor said his findings are based on information gained via Freedom of Information requests received from the Coal Authority and analysis of water samples from Hauxley beach.

He claims the manganese levels in the water are 1,670 times higher than is considered safe. He alleges that the information he received via the FOI request ‘shows that the Coal Authority has been aware of this pending disaster for many years, but have done nothing to stop it.’

The Environment Agency says it doesn’t believe that the quality of water was a health risk to the public, but has said that, together with the Coal Authority, it plans to carry out further investigations.

A county council spokesman said that ‘contaminated minewater usually presents as a dark red colour due to the presence of iron and leaves a thick red sludge deposit – which, if present, would be very visible even to the untrained eye’.