Caught by the River

Environment Agency investigating massive fish kill in River Line, East Sussex

28th August 2010

News from the Environment Agency website.

Environment Agency technical officers are working to find out what caused the almost complete loss of aquatic life in a stretch of the River Line last week.

Members of the public contacted the organisation with reports of 40 dead trout in a tributary of the River Line near Battle. Fisheries Officer Jamie Benton immediately visited the site and walked a stretch of the watercourse, recording that all aquatic life had been killed over the 2km stretch, including bullheads and brook lampreys (protected species). Current estimations are that 100 – 200 trout, 40 brook lampreys and at least 5 bullheads were killed.
Southern Water Services reported to the Environment Agency on Monday 16 Aug that the Pumping Station, located upstream of the dead fish, failed on Saturday. Southern Water Services did not manage to repair the pumping station until 16 Aug at 11:30.
Initial investigations suggest that raw sewage caused the fish to die. Jamie Benton said: “It’s always upsetting when fish die on this scale. We are conducting a full and thorough investigation into this incident.
“We have taken samples from the river to see how bad the pollution is, in case we can use oxygenating equipment to rectify the situation. Sadly, we have concluded there is little further we can do as the pollution has already taken its toll in the environment. Southern Water Services have offered support and will tanker away remaining pools of sewage in the river around the pumping station.
“We welcome the public reporting the incident, which gave us an opportunity to deal with the incident swiftly. If anyone sees fish in distress or is aware of another environmental incident, we urge them to contact us immediately on our incident hotline 0800 80 70 60.”