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Lee Navigation - oil update

Update on the latest with the clean-up of the February 2018 oil spill on the Lee Navigation. Please note the actions for boaters below:

Stonebridge Lock, Lee Navigation Stonebridge Lock, Lee Navigation

Update: Monday 19 March - the waterway reopens

On Monday we worked with the EA and specialist contractors to remove more of the oily debris at Lea Bridge, and have assessed some of the debris at Lea Bridge. The debris coming down is now consistent with what would be coming down pre-incident. There is some residual oil evident in the waterway and small pockets will remain around moored boats, which we will continue clean over upcoming weeks.

As visible pollution is similar levels to that often seen at the site, the waterway was handed back to us today to continue under normal waterway conditions and we pleased to confirm that the waterways is now reopen for navigation.

Thank you to everybody who has helped support the clean-up effort, and for your patience and co-operation over the past weeks.

Update: Friday 16 March

The EA contractors, supported by the Trust, are still clearing the oil where it has collected at the boom at Lea bridge Road and further down at Old Ford Lock. This is causing the closure to remain in place.

Movement from Old Ford Lock up to the boom at Lea Bridge is still allowed along with movement north of the boom to Tottenham lock. Sanitary facilities are still available at Springfield marina.

Please do not cross the boom at Lea Bridge Road

Boaters are asked not to break the booms or go through any of the closed off locks whilst the clean up efforts are still ongoing.

We would like to thank all the boaters and members of the public that gave up their time to help with clean up last week. We will be reviewing the situation again on Monday 19 March.

Update: Tuesday 13 March

According to the Environment Agency, they believe that the oil we’re seeing now is part of the first release of oil into the drainage network. With the rainfall we have received, it is thought likely that further pockets of oil are being flushed through the drains. There is still a significant quantity of oil to remove from the drainage system, so the contractors are working on this at the moment.

Last week, the Canal and River Trust, the Environment Agency and volunteers worked effectively together to remove all of the waste oil and debris at Old Ford lock, with the Environment Agency providing an oil skimmer and the Trust providing a boat. Volunteers were also on site over the weekend clearing up the oil, for this we are truly thankful.

The intention is to work together again this week to remove oil, working from the water. The idea is to move northwards from Old Ford lock towards Lea Bridge, covering as much distance as possible.

Here is an update on the affected locations:

Lea Bridge Weir

On Monday 12 March contractors were on site at Lea Bridge Weir collecting and bagging debris from the booms that are in place. They have been bagging debris there today. As long as the tanker is fixed, they are planning to get it to Lea Bridge on Wednesday 14 March to attempt the skimming. 

Tottenham Marshes

Another contractor team have also been at Tottenham Marshes today, 13 March. They have been performing another clean of the outfall chamber into the Pymmes Brook, which had filled with oil again over the weekend. They have now finished on site today, having vacuumed out oil from the chamber and replaced the absorbent pads that were present.

You can see information on how we have dealt with this incident since the beginning on our notices page.

For boaters

  • The EA have requested that we ask all boaters to check whether there is any oil caught up around their boats
  • If there is, you need to untether your boat as soon as possible, to dislodge the oil and allow it to flow downstream. Once this is done, the contractors can work their way along the Lee Navigation cleaning up the dislodged oil where it accumulates
  • Tottenham to Old Ford Lock on the Hertford Union remains closed
  • We are now allowing boats above the boom at Lee Bridge to move within the Lee Bridge to Tottenham Lock boom area so they will have access to Springfield Marina
  • Please do not pass or go through the booms for any reason

Contaminated oil pad collection information

Please, if possible, take contaminated oil stuff to the following places for collection.

  • Lee Rowing Club (to the left as you look at the club)
  • Lee bridge
  • Tottenham Lock
  • Old Ford Lee

These are places where we'll be able to get the best access to the towpath. For instance, on Wednesday 7 March we have removed 40 of the large ton bags from Old Ford.

If you are unable to take it yourself please email at enquiries.london@canalrivertrust.org.uk and let us know the location. We'll pass this on to the contractors to come and collect.

What to do if you see an animal in distress

We do not have staff trained to handle animals that have been affected by the oil spill. However, we are working closely with the Swan Sanctuary and RSPB in the area. If you see an animal in distress, please report this to either of these organisations. 

Last date edited: 20 March 2018