Press release

Are you disposing of your oil or fuel correctly?

Worcester businesses and residents reminded to make sure oil and fuel is stored and disposed of correctly and safely.

Visible oil slick on the canal
Oil slick on the canal

The Environment Agency is urging businesses and householders in the Ronkswood, Brickfields, Tolladine and Rainbow Hill areas of Worcester to check their oil tanks and ensure that they dispose of oil and fuel in a correct and safe way.

Over the past few weeks Environment Agency officers have dealt with a number of incidents where oil has polluted the Worcester and Birmingham Canal in the centre of Worcester, impacting a 2 mile stretch of the waterway and led to 7 swans requiring treatment from Wychbold Swan Rescue and Bishops Wood Swan Rescue.

Investigations suggest the substance is diesel and had been entering the canal via one of its numerous tributaries, many of which have been covered over time so are not easily visible.

There are a number of Household Recycling Centres which will happily accept small quantities of oil from members of the public. Businesses must ensure their waste oil is collected by a registered waste carrier, which can be found on the GOV.UK public register webpage.

Dave Throup from the Environment Agency said:

We are working with the Canal and River Trust to stop diesel and other oils entering the canal, and to trace the source of this oil. We are asking businesses and householders in Worcestershire to check any oil tanks or underground oil pipes on their property to make sure they aren’t leaking, and to make people aware never to pour oil or fuel down the drain.

The Worcester and Birmingham Canal was built along the path of the Frog Brook and research suggests it drains water away from the south and east of Worcester. The tributaries of the Frog Brook were bricked over and it’s suspected many areas of east Worcester drain into the canal via these old lost watercourses. Over many years we have located a large number of these tributaries, but some parts of the old system of brick culverts are still to be rediscovered.

Published 20 October 2016