The Environment Agency iN the UK is looking to solve a pollution problem that it says has killed a stretch of the river Rother in Derbyshire.

Water contaminated with tar is leaking from a lagoon at a derelict coking works into the river at Winger-worth and, according to the Environ-ment Agency, has killed all river life up to Chesterfield.

The culprit is the derelict Avenue Coking Works at Wingerworth. ‘The site closed in 1992 but the lagoon still exists,’ says Jill Credland, one of the heads of the Agency’s environmental protection team that is responsible for water and waste regulation in the river Rother and Chesterfield area. ‘This has been leaking and is largely responsible for devastating the Rother, which is now dead from Wingerworth to the centre of Chesterfield.’

A massive clean-up operation was launched on the site last year by the East Midlands Development Agency. The project will stabilise the walls of the 80,000m3 lagoon by building a half-height towbund made from crushed bricks. This will prevent catastrophic failure but it will not stop the slow seepage of contaminants that are reaching the river through the layers of gravel and soil below the lagoon.