Source of Silchester Brook pollution spill still a mystery as 750 fish are wiped out (From Daily Echo)
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Source of Silchester Brook pollution spill still a mystery as 750 fish are wiped out
A MYSTERY pollution incident has wiped out hundreds of fish in a five-mile stretch of a north Hampshire waterway.
The Environment Agency is investigating the cause of the pollution after 750 fish were killed in Silchester Brook and Foudry Brook, which flows into the River Kennet.
Three years ago, about 22,000 fish died in the same stream after a pollution leak from a sewage works.
The alarm about the latest incident was raised on Sunday, August 25 by Linda Alexander, of Clappers Farm, in Clappers Farm Road, near Silchester. She noticed that the waters were murky and spotted dead fish at about 4pm.
She called the Environment Agency before saving as many fish as possible by putting them in a tank filled with oxygenated water.
Environment Agency officers, who were at the scene within a couple of hours, found hundreds of trout, along with chub, minnow, bullhead, stickleback and stone loach dead or in distress in the stretch of water affected by the pollutant.
Cag Ketenci, from the Environ-ment Agency, said: “A member of the public called us to report discolouration of the water and a number of adult dead fish on the Foudry Brook.
“Environment Agency officers attended the scene and confirmed that dissolved oxygen levels were very low – less than 10 per cent.
“Our monitoring of the Silchester and Foudry brooks showed that there was a pollutant present in the watercourse, and dissolved oxygen levels were low over an 8km stretch.”
Last Thursday, water quality readings taken by agency officers were normal and showed no ongoing pollution in the watercourse.
Mr Ketenci said: “We estimate that around 750 fish were killed. However, live fish and invertebrates were found swimming next to the dead fish.
“We have taken water samples on the affected stretch, and this will take several days to process in the lab. We are still investigating the source of the pollutant.”
This is the second such incident in the brooks in the past three years. In July 2010, sewage sludge leaked into the two brooks, killing about 22,000 fish. In 2011, Thames Water Utilities Limited was ordered to pay more than £61,000 in fines and costs at Winchester Crown Court after admitting causing the pollution.
The River Kennet was also hit by an incident of pollution on July 1 when thousands of insects were wiped out, devastating the ecosystem, after deadly pesticide was dumped into the river.
Mrs Alexander said that any pollution of the brooks is devastating for local wildlife and upsetting for those who live nearby.
She added: “Life was just beginning to return to the brooks – the kingfishers, the herons, the ducks and moorhens.
“It is awful to think about it happening again.”
A Thames Water spokesman told The Gazette that the company has had no leaks from the unmanned sewage treatment works to the south-west of Silchester, which was the source of the pollution in 2010.
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