Saturday, 6 July 2013

Chemical kill on the Kennet

The following warning has been issued with regard to the River Kennet:

"Environment Agency investigating pollution on the River Kennet

The Environment Agency is appealing to the public for information about a pesticide that has polluted the River Kennet between Marlborough and Hungerford.
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.

Investigations have shown that many macro-invertebrates have been killed, but there have been no reports of any fish killed.

Public Health England, working in partnership with the Environment Agency and Wiltshire and West Berkshire Councils, has advised the public to avoid skin contact with the water in the river until the exact concentrations and impacts of the pesticide have been determined. People are also being advised not to fish or to eat any fish caught in this stretch of the river at this time.

Paul Hudson from the Environment Agency said: “We have had officers out this week sampling the river as part of our investigation, and we will be back on site tomorrow and throughout the weekend to continue to monitor the impacts and any longer term issues.

“There are numerous locations and ways it could have entered the sewage treatment works before it reached the river, and we are appealing for any information anyone has about how this happened.“

“The levels in the river are not believed to be harmful, particularly as there has been no impact on fish in the river, but Public Health England has advised that people should avoid contact with the skin and keep their pets away from the water until further information is available.”

“Our main aim now is to investigate what has happened here, mitigate the impacts on the aquatic wildlife and take steps to educate those responsible and others to try to prevent it from happening again. We will also continue to keep river users along the Kennet informed as our investigation continues.”

“We are appealing to anyone with any information about this incident to get in contact with us by calling our hotline number 0800 80 70 60.”

Warning signs (often accompanied by a copy of the above statement) have been placed alongside numerous points of potential access to the upper reach of the River Kennet from Mildenhall...

...down to Eddington at Hungerford.