Parents are being warned to keep their children out of the River Goyt this summer as several youngsters reported falling ill after entering the water ‘full of leeches’.
In a post on social media, one mother from Offerton said her son had become sick following a dip in a stretch of the Goyt in Woodbank Park.
“Please keep your kids out of the river at Woodbank… apart from the obvious drowning danger, the river is polluted and full of leeches,” she said.
“My son and his mates have all come down with vomiting and a bad stomach!”
Now, both Stockport Council and the Environment Agency are urging people not to enter the river and only swim in open water at pre-designated sites.
“Environment Agency monitors designated bathing waters during the bathing season,” a spokesperson for the Agency said.
“More than £2.5 billion has been invested by the water industry to improve assets that discharge to bathing (mostly beaches) and shell fish water.
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“Open water swimming at non designated sites can increase the risk of gastrointestinal illnesses, or stomach bugs, which may cause diarrhoea and/or vomiting, as well as respiratory, skin, ear and eye infections.”
Official advice also warns that anyone can become unwell from swimming in any open water because there will always be microorganisms present.
Additionally, children and novice swimmers are more susceptible to falling ill, as they are more likely to swallow water accidentally.
Coun Sheila Bailey, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport, said the authority was ‘sorry’ to hear of the illness and said bosses would speak with the Environment Agency throughout its investigation.
“We are sorry to hear that some young people have become ill and hope they soon recover,” Coun Bailey said.
“Clearly there is an issue that needs to be investigated by the Environment Agency as they are responsible for the management of rivers and any incidents of possible pollution.
“The Council always advises caution with regard to rivers or any bodies of open water as they can carry pollutants, cause cold water shock, have hidden currents and sometimes conceal hazards.
“The Council will liaise with the EA regarding its investigation.”
Residents can report environmental incidents to the Environment Agency on its 24/7 Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.