Mr Wade, a member of the council, has been campaigning since 1966 to get the eight-mile section of river, which had been polluted by an old mine works, cleaned up.
This week a£1.2m scheme starts to pump out the waste. Mr Wade had been told that cash was not available because the mine had been abandoned in 1918 and its owners could not be traced. The project has been partly financed by£470,000 of EU cash.
Mr Wade said: 'It's incredible to think that I first started campaigning way back in 1966. No one would listen, but I kept plugging the subject at council meetings, university seminars, with the rivers board and environmental agencies.