Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Chemical kill on the Kennet - UPDATE: Restrictions lifted

 9 July 2013 – DF/XXX/13

Restrictions on the Kennet lifted but Environment Agency investigation continues

The Environment Agency is still appealing to the public for information about where a pesticide that polluted the River Kennet between Marlborough and Hungerford last week came from.

Environment Agency officers have been investigating the source of the pollution, believed to be chlorpyrifos, a common agricultural pesticide, and have been taking samples to assess the impacts on the water quality.

Samples taken last week and over the weekend show that the pesticide has dissipated naturally with the water flow and levels have dropped significantly since last week.

Public Health England continues to work in partnership with the Environment Agency and Wiltshire and West Berkshire Council after a pesticide polluted the River Kennet between Marlborough and Hungerford.

Following the latest round of water sample results, Public Health England has advised that the previous restrictions asking the public and pets to avoid skin contact with the water can be removed. The Food Standards Agency has also advised that there should be no restrictions on eating fish caught in the river.

Paul Hudson from the Environment Agency said: “It is obviously great news that the pesticide has dissipated naturally and that the precautionary restrictions put in place have been removed following advice from Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency.

“We are still trying to trace the source of the pesticide, and we would appeal for anyone who has information to come forward so that we can take steps to educate those responsible and others to try to prevent it from happening again.

“We are also meeting with business owners along the Kennet regularly to keep them informed of the latest information.”

Environment Agency investigations have shown that many macro-invertebrates were killed last week, but there have been no reports of any fish killed.

Anyone with any information about this incident, or any pollution or environment incident, should contact us by calling our hotline number 0800 80 70 60.