Friday, 9 March 2012

‘Catastrophic’ leak kills a thousand fish

SEWAGE leaking into the River Lea and Luton Hoo lakes has killed an estimated one thousand small fish and at least 12 larger fish this week.
Enviornment Agency (EA) officers are dealing with the impact of the sewage discharge and working to prevent the pollution spreading further.
Thames Water are responsible for the sewage, which entered both lakes of the Luton Hoo fishery from the River Lea on February 28.
Jenny Melvin, Environment Management Team Leader said: “This is a significant sewage pollution incident which has caused the death of a large number of fish. It’s distressing to see such damage to a beautiful part of our environment, which will impact on the local community and particularly anglers who enjoy fishing the lakes.”
An EA spokesperson said fish are still in distress in the lake and they are deploying aeration equipment in a bid to prevent further fish deaths. Sewage pollution strips out oxygen in the water, leading to fish suffocation.
A spokesperson from Thames Water said the pollution appears to be a result of a blockage of silt in the sewer network which caused the sewage to flow into the surface water network and nearby lakes.
The spokesperson said: “We have been working around the clock for the past week trying to resolve this issue. Obviously any pollution incident is deeply regrettable. We are tankering away the sewage while we do this work to ensure there is no further pollution and we hope to have this cleared by the end of the week.”
Luton Hoo Hotel is now appealing to Thames Water to restock its two lakes following the ‘catastrophic’ effect of the pollution.
Estate Manager Richard Biffen said: “This is an extremely distressing incident that has had a devastating effect on our fish stocks. We appreciate that Thames Water reacted swiftly when we first reported the pollution, installed aerators in an attempt to increase the dangerously low levels of oxygen and deployed a team to work on site and monitor the situation 24 hours a day in conjunction with the Environment Agency.
“The combination of low rainfall and keeping our weirs shut meant the pollution was contained in our lakes and prevented from causing further environmental damage downstream. However, a significant proportion of our fish stock has been affected, including stickleback, roach, common carp, tench and other course fish, many of them mature and weighing up to 25lbs.
“Fish were killed in a similar incident in 2002 and this time we sincerely hope that Thames Water will agree to restock the lakes and restore the fish to previous levels.”
Thames Water said there have been blockages within this sewage pipe in the past, although not in this particular area.
The EA have launched an investigation.

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