Discovery of contaminants delays bird reserve at Greatham Creek (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Discovery of contaminants delays bird reserve at Greatham Creek
3:55pm Monday 9th September 2013 in News
THE creation of a new bird reserve on the Tees Estuary will be delayed until next year following the discovery of contaminants in an old landfill tip next to the site.
The £3.8m Environment Agency (EA) scheme was due to be completed this month (September) with the breaching of an existing flood embankment, which will allow the tide from the estuary to wash in at Greatham Creek.
However, ground investigations and soil testing by EA scientists during construction identified contamination within ground water seeping from the tip, which is a legacy of more than a century of salt production on the site.
As a result the entire tip will need to be encased in a thick layer of clay to prevent further seepage.
Project manager Chris Milburn said: “The tip lies in a very sensitive location in relation to the new habitat and we have a duty to ensure that the area is protected before we breach the old flood bank to allow to tide to wash in.
“We are disappointed that we will be unable to complete the work this year as planned, but we have no option in the circumstances. We now hope to be able to breach the old flood bank to complete the scheme next summer.”
The new habitat will be known as the Saltern Wetlands – a name chosen by local people to reflect the previous history of the site.
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