Clean-up on river after oil spillage; Urgent work to halt spread.
OIL spill triggered an environmental alert on the River Dee.
Officials from the Environment Agency were called to the spill on the Flintshire and Cheshire border on Saturday to tackle the incident, which saw residual oil floating along the surface of the river.
Teams from Wales and the North West of England were still on the scene yesterday continuing the clean-up operation with booms on the river, near Sealand Road, Chester.
The investigation has so far revealed that the source of the spillage is upstream, closer to Chester city centre, but its precise location is not yet known.
Environment Agency North West spokeswoman Jill Partington detailed the extent of the oil spillage and how the teams brought it under control.
She said: "This was a significant amount of oil which has come out.
"At its worst the oil spread three quarters of the width of the river, and there was a strong smell of fuel.
"We put booms up to contain and stop the spread of the oil, isolating the further spread downstream.
"We are keeping a close eye on the situation and we are investigating the source of the spillage, which we believe is toward the city centre of Chester.
"United Utilities have been monitoring the water quality but have not noted any problems."
United Utilities spokesman Nick Hulme confirmed the company had been made aware of the spillage.
He said there were no health issues with drinking water as a result of it, both in Chester and Flintshire.
The Dee, one of North Wales' largest and most treacherous rivers, is home to many rare species of birds.
Oils spillages could have devastating consequences for many of its native creatures, which is why environment chiefs work quickly to contain any incidents.
It is also a major cockling site, attracting dozens of licensed cocklers and its upper waters are home to salmon and trout fisheries.
A major pollution incident in the middle reaches in the late 1990s did extensive damage to the river.
It is now largely recovered, and its condition is carefully monitored on a regular basis by Environment Agency Wales.
Above, work goes on to halt the spread of oil from an outlet feeding into the river Dee (left) Pictures: VAL HACKPIL