CONCERNS have been raised after severe pollution caused sections of the River Irwell in Bury to turn white.

The pollution was spotted by members of the Salford Friendly Anglers on Friday in the river near Wellington Street, who have reported it to the Environment Agency.

They say the source of the problem is now thought to have been found, and say the discolouring of the river was caused by calcium carbonate entering the river.

The angling group fish on much of the river, and are campaigning to help improve its cleanliness to encourage a variety of wildlife.

The group say it has recently attracted kingfishers, pike and other fish after having a previous reputation as one of the dirtiest rivers in Europe.

Mike Duddy, chairman of Salford Friendly Anglers, said: “The Irwell has been turning white on a regular basis now for the past few years —hopefully they have now found the cause and will stop it from happening again.

Eric Owen, a member of the group who has been keeping a log of fly tipping and pollution incidents on the river, added: “We are waiting to see if it has had any effect on the wildlife.

“Hopefully the source has been found now, but we were worried about the fish at first.

“I have seen the river turn green before, but it was horrendous on Friday. It has been a problem for many years now, and it needs sorting out.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We are aware of this pollution incident, which has caused some change in colour to parts of the River Irwell as a result of calcium carbonate in the water.

“The source has been identified and we are working to remediate the issue.”