Could floods poison local rivers?

RESEARCHERS at Aberystwyth University are investigating the possibility that the floods which hit Aberystwyth and North Ceredigion over the past week may have caused heavy metals from old mine workings in the region to be carried down-stream, polluting hundreds of acres of land

The work is being led by Professor Mark Macklin, an expert on river systems and Director of the Centre for Catchment and Coastal Research at the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences.

The team will be collecting samples over the coming days and weeks to check for traces of lead, zinc, cadmium and copper that may have been carried by the floods.

According to Professor Macklin, the extreme rainfall experienced in Ceredigion was caused by a frontal storm amplified by the terrain of the Cambrian Mountains, and the flooding in the lower Rheidol and Ystwyth valleys was made worse by a high tide, south-westerly winds and low pressure.

As the clearup continues, the University have been forced to close the Blandolau playing fields and parts of the Plas Gogerddan campus, from where University files had to be rescued on Saturday morning as floodwaters rose. The Uni’s Human Resources department have also been forced to move temporarily from Plas Gogerddan into the Hugh Owen building.

Local insurer NFU Mutal have activated their emergency plans to deal with the huge number of insurance claims, including bringing in extra staff, while local MP Mark Williams has praised rescue efforts, saying we should all be “eternally grateful” for those who have “given up their time and have been so generous”.