The reach of Styx Creek from Chatham Road to the railway line runs between a derelict gasworks site and a working petrol distribution facility. The gasworks site is a huge expanse of wasteland which, if the ground wasn’t deemed to be so utterly contaminated, would have been covered in townhouses years ago. The petrol place is busy, all that fuel. On days when the atmospheric conditions are right there’s a petrolly miasma that settles in the creek and you can just about get a kind of hit that petrol-sniffers go for.
But what makes me more uneasy than the smell is what’s happening underground. There are rusting caps spaced out along the creek. I came across a couple of guys in Hi-Viz jackets taking samples from them one morning but they weren’t all that keen to talk to me about what they were doing.
When the oil (or whatever it is) gets mixed with water it emulsifies into this goop that seeps out and into the water.
Up close it looks like the Nile Delta from space.