COOKING oil is thought to have been found to have entered the River Tame in Stalybridge – but takeaway has been cleared of dumping it.
An image showing a pipe coming from the back of a building on Market Street and into the water sparked outrage among residents, business owners and councillors.
Tameside Council and the Environment Agency were called in to investigate claims the business – Tinsel Town’s Fried Chicken – was dumping cooking oil into the Tame.
However, the Environment agency says they were not responsible for the pipe, although cooking oil was in the water – because of a broken drain.
In a statement to the Correspondent, the government body said: “Environment Agency officers were notified of a pollution incident in the River Tame in Stalybridge on March 7.
“Our investigation into the incident has shown no evidence of fish in distress or impact to wildlife, but a substance like cooking oil was noted on the river bank and in the water.
“Our officers investigated the possible cause and visited premises near to the source of the pollution who confirmed that some of their kitchen waste had escaped from site due to a damaged drain.
“This drain was repaired by the premises on March 11.
“Our investigation has shown that the discharge on the water was not caused by the pipe seen exiting from a window on the photograph.
“The purpose of this pipe was unknown to the premises and has now been removed.”
Sight of the pipe running from the back of the building sparked a reaction and Tameside Council officers also investigated.
However, the business’ owners are thought to have said they do not have access to the floor from which the plastic was running.
The Correspondent has been told there are other issues regarding the business and the positioning of bins that are thought to be close to an emergency exit from the Cosmo Bingo building opposite.
And Stalybridge South councillor Liam Billington urged council and Environment Agency officials to investigate the claims of the dumping of cooking fat.
Other residents hit out at seeing the picture, with some claiming the problem had been ongoing for up to three years.
However, it has been cleared of dumping fat into the river, which is at the centre of a big effort by the Mersey Rivers Trust to clean it up with the aim of hopefully attracting salmon into it one day.
One town centre clean-up is being followed by another at Roaches Lock in Mossley and there will be plenty of others organised.
And the Environment Agency urged people to keep on reporting any problems they see.
The spokesman added: “The Environment Agency would like to thank everyone who reported the issue to our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
“Reporting issues of pollution allows us to respond quickly to protect people and the environment and to reduce any possible impact incidents may have.”