River Nene- Fish Dead in Major Pollution Incident
It is reported that thousands of fish have died, or are struggling, after 5,000 litres of toxic chemicals leaked into the River Nene near Peterborough.
Dead fish reported include numbers of roach, perch, tench, eels and loach and in the aftermath of the pollution people, including anglers, are being warned by the Environment Agency to stay away from the Nene in case the potentially irritating chemicals, spilled at Orton Southgate, are still in the water.
The chemicals, although highly diluted may be present in the water a significant distance downstream and the incident has led to the closure of a seafood fishery in King's Lynn on the advice of the Food Standards Agency.
Anglian Water, local downstream abstractors, the RSPB, Nene Parks Trust, river users, the local authority, internal drainage boards and the Health Protection Agency have been alerted by the Agency, samples have been taken from the water and results will soon be known.
Environment Agency team leader Manfai Tang commented:
“Although we cannot link a report of the chemicals spilled at Orton Southgate, the chemicals are toxic to fish. Although very unlikely to cause a problem for people due to the dilution, we are advising them to stay away from the water as a precaution.
There is no sign of pollution at the moment but we have eliminated other causes such as low dissolved oxygen and ammonia.
The river is flowing fast at the moment as we have had a lot of rain which will, of course, help to dilute any pollution.”
A penstock close to Orton Southgate has been closed so if any chemical was passing through surface water drains into the river it will be blocked.
The Environment Agency advise that anyone concerned about being in contact with the water and who has skin irritation should wash skin and hair with soap and water in the first instance. If irritation persists they are advised to seek medical advice.
If anyone has irritation in their eyes after being in contact with the water they should flush immediately with plenty of drinking water for 15 minutes and seek medical attention if irritation persists.
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