Community averts pig slurry disaster

Monks Dale near Millers Dale
Monks Dale near Millers Dale

A community got its hands dirty to help a farmer whose slurry storage pit burst allowing thousands of litres of pig muck to cascade towards the River Wye.

The cascading river of waste crushed a farm building, killing five pigs, on its way through the Monks Dale nature reserve, near Millers Dale, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), from a pig farm.

The slurry had been kept in an underground storage pit on Monks Dale Farm, however the reinforced concrete of the container gave way on Friday afternoon, causing it to break free.

Farmer Clive Hodgson said: “It was an unforeseen catastrophic accident.

“The slurry would have all gone down to the river. Some of it went into the river, but not a lot of it did due to the quick actions of family and friends.

“We had road sweepers and gully emptiers making sure we could stop everything. It really gives you faith in human nature.”

Officers from the Environment Agency attended immediately to address the situation.

A spokesman for the agency said: “We worked into the night to investigate and check for environmental impacts and carried out monitoring of the River Wye, both where slurry had clearly entered and at numerous places downstream.

“On Friday evening and over the course of the weekend we found no signs of water pollution or fish in distress but our investigations are continuing and we plan to check the invertebrate life on which fish and other wildlife feed to see if it has been affected.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely until we are confident that there is no further risk to the environment.

“The River Wye is well known for its wild trout and we have been in close contact with those with fishing interests to keep them informed of our findings.

“The farmer, who is cooperating with our investigation, undertook an extensive clean up of the affected roads and paths and Derbyshire County Council’s Highways team have removed residual slurry from the road drains.”

Natural England will now assess any potential impact the slurry may have had with regard to the nature reserve and SSSI.