A new report published by the Coal Authority reveals how more than 80km of rivers in Weardale have been polluted by abandoned metal mines.
The findings show that metals such zinc, cadmium and lead have been found in the River Wear catchment in the eastern part of County Durham close to the Pennines.
Across England, metal mine pollution affects around 1,500km of rivers.
Former mines, some of which were abandoned in the 1970s/80s have been identified as the source of this damaging pollution.
Pollution like this can cause damage to wildlife and the environment as well as even human health. Some of the smaller rivers and burns affected flow through Hamsterley Forest, home to lots of different species of animals.
Monitoring done by the Agency has identified several important sources which have caused this pollution. These are:
Cambokeels Mine water
This mine water contains metals including cadmium, zinc and iron which pollute up to 16km of the River Wear. Unless action is taken, this pollution will continue for hundreds of years.
This mine water contains metals including cadmium, zinc and iron which pollute up to 35km of the Rookhope Burn and River Wear. Unless action is taken, this pollution will continue for hundreds of years.
Metals impacting Killhope burn come from two mine water discharges and several areas of contaminated mine wastes. Unless action is taken, this pollution will continue for hundreds of years.
Middlehope Burn is polluted by cadmium, lead and zinc from abandoned mines.
Source: Chronicle Live 16th December 2021