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Investigation and recovery phase begins following sewage leak in Thatcham

Environment Agency issues update

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Investigation and recovery phase begins following sewage leak in Thatcham

Environment Agency teams are investigating the cause of a sewage leak which has killed more than 100 fish in Thatcham.

The "significant pollution incident" was declared following a burst sewer pipe near Moor Ditch, a tributary of the River Kennet, on Tuesday. 

Surveys have recorded hundreds of dead fish, including pike, perch, brook lamprey and bullheads, over a 1.5 mile stretch. 

The Environment Agency said this afternoon that the water quality is now improving and aeration equipment continues to be deployed.

It said it has now moved into the recovery and investigation phase of the incident.

The agency said: "Local angling and river groups are being kept updated and we advise members of the public to keep themselves and their animals away from the watercourse.

"The public are urged to report sightings of fish in distress and pollution incidents to us via our 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: for updates."

The sewer pipe is the property of Thames Water, which said: “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.”

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