Essex: Worst chemical spill in fifteen years
30th June 2012
An estimated 7,000 fish have died after 5,000 litres of pesticide was accidentally spilled into a brook near Great Yeldham in what is described as one of the worst chemical spills in an Essex river in the past decade-and-a-half.
On Wednesday June 13 a farm trailer overturned on a bridge over Toppesfield Brook, sending the pesticide into the water.
Since then Environment Agency (EA) staff have been working to minimise the amount of pesticide travelling further downstream from the brook and along the River Colne, which passes through Halstead and Earls Colne before reaching Colchester. Speaking on Monday (June 25) Jamie Fairfull, from the Environment Agency, said: “We had removed upwards of 7,000 fish by Thursday (June 21), so many that in the end we had trouble finding places to put them.
“The encouraging news on Thursday was that no further fish had been seen dying below Earls Colne. That was confirmed on Friday and Saturday and Sunday and today."
“We are fairly pleased and confident that the levels of the pesticide in the water from there had dropped to levels that will not harm fish .”
The EA is continuing to monitor the river every day, said Mr Fairfull, sending water samples off for analysis to ensure the pollution is remaining under control.
Fie days after the spillage, Frank Saunders from the Environment Agency said: ‘We are continuing to do all we can to minimise the impact but unfortunately we have seen some devastating effects so far.
“This is one of the biggest chemical spills into a watercourse in Essex in the last 15 years.”