Wed, 11 Sept 2019
HUNDREDS of fish have died following a "significant pollution incident" in Thatcham.
People are being advised to keep themselves and pets away following a burst wastewater pipe close to the Thames Water sewage treatment works in Lower Way yesterday (Tuesday)
Specialist Environment Agency teams are continuing their efforts to save fish populations at the Moor Ditch, a tributary of the River Kennet.
Officers are working to trace the source of the pollutant and stop any further environmental impacts, including pumping air into the water to help fish and to limit further deaths.
Surveys have recorded hundreds of dead fish, including pike, perch, brook lamprey and bullheads, over a 1.5 mile stretch.
The Environment Agency is investigating the cause of the incident.
Local angling clubs have been informed.
The agency has advised people to keep themselves and their animals away from the watercourse. Sightings of fish in distress and pollution incidents can be reported to the 24-hour emergency hotline on 0800 807060.
The leak is close to the Nature Discovery Centre, which is operated by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).
Land manager at BBOWT, Simon Barnett, said: "We do not believe the sewage leak has affected the Nature Discovery Centre’s (NDC) lake or the Cold Ash stream, which flows past the NDC.
"We are advising all people to keep themselves and their pets out of the water at the NDC and Thatcham Reedbeds as a precautionary measure, until we get confirmation from the Environment Agency. If people do see dead fish or evidence of pollution, please inform BBOWT and the Environment Agency. Please refer to our website: www.bbowt.org.uk for updates."
A Thames Water spokesman said this morning: “We reacted quickly to close off a burst sewer pipe which leaked some wastewater into the watercourse yesterday. We’re now using tankers to prevent any further spills and have a team working hard on the repair.
“We’re sorry for the disruption and will continue to work closely with the Environment Agency to manage any impact to the environment.”