FEARS dangerous mine water could make its way into a river near Redruth has sparked an emergency pumping operation to get under way.
Untreated water saturated with different metals had been rising in the Wheal Jane mine site from Friday following the onslaught of recent storms.
The Coal Authority, who run the site, had co-ordinated with Cornwall Fire and Rescue and the Environment Agency to launch an operation in an attempt to reduce the rising water level, before it contaminated the near-by river Carnon.
Three high capacity pumping engines are now on site and a spokesman from the Environment Agency said the water level began to fall this morning.
The spokesman added that the water had been rising over the past few days.
The Falmouth-based Cornwall Port Health Authority is said to be collecting shellfish from a near-by estuary to check if is contaminated.
Shellfish act as a filter and it would be possible to tell if metal had passed through them by analysing their flesh.
The results have not been released yet.
A spokesman from the Environment Agency said: “There’s a joint operation that has been going on since Friday.
“The water level had continued to rise despite pumping engines being present over the weekend.
"It could be dangerous, but we hope strong river currents would have washed it away if it did breach.
“But now the water level is dropping and we are sure it will continue to do so.”