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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Food dye leak turns stream yellow
Yellow stream
Litres of orange juice waste products leaked into the rhyne
A stream near Bridgwater, Somerset, turned bright yellow when 8,000 litres of waste products from the manufacture of orange juices leaked into a stream.

Environment Agency officers were called to Gerber Foods on Wednesday after a drainage board reported a rhine near the River Parrett was canary yellow.

Three tankers were brought on site by the firm to remove the waste products.

Preliminary investigations by the agency indicate the pollution did not enter the river.

Tank split

"The visual impact of this incident was immediately apparent," said Catherine Lockwood, of the Environment Agency.

"We will be carrying out a detailed investigation to assess the impact it has had on the rhine and surrounding waterways."

Gerber Foods said the waste material in the tank was a mixture of orange juice and concentrate, some of which would have been used in the manufacture of the Sunny D orange juice drink.

Personnel Director, Paul Hurst, said: "This incident occurred when a fibreglass underground tank split, allowing approximately six tonnes of a mixture of juice, and juice drink concentrate due for disposal, to seep into a watercourse close to our Wembdon Road premises.

"We took swift action in preventing further seepage and co-operated fully with the Environment Agency and the Drainage Board.

"We're now undertaking a full investigation which will include the tank being surveyed to establish why the break occurred, and then to either repair or replace the tank as necessary.

"As far as I am aware, this is the first time something like this has occurred, and we very much regret it happened," he said.

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