Update on pollution in the River Nene

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Water quality in the River Nene at Peterborough has now almost returned to normal with no more fish dying as a result of the chemical pollution.

People are advised to take the usual precautions when being in contact with river water such as covering up cuts and not swallowing the water.

Levels of toxicity in the water have been reducing steadily since Saturday, June 23, as rain and flowing water continued to dilute the chemical residue. Levels are now undetectable in the river in Peterborough.

Crustaceans are the most sensitive species to pollution in the river and levels in the Nene are below what would be expected to affect them.

Norman Robinson from the Agency said the exact number of dead fish is still being assessed but is likely to now be in excess of 4,000. The pollution has also wiped out a large percentage of invertebrates along the stretch of affected river between Orton Mere and Wisbech.

“Our biological surveys have shown there is likely to be a long-term impact on the flora and fauna of the river. We are now working out how to help the river recover,” he said.

Tens of thousands of fish were seen in distress along the length of affected river after the 5,000 litres chemical spill from Safapac at Orton Southgate industrial estate.

The Environment Agency managed water flows between Orton Mere and the Dog in a Doublet Sluice to help dilute the chemical pollution and lower the risk to wildlife.

The chemical spill is still being investigated by police and the Environment Agency.

Businesses and farmers can take simple steps to prevent pollution, including storing oils and chemicals safely and securely. For more tips visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/pollution/39083.aspx.

If you see pollution, or want an update on an incident, call the Environment Agency’s Helpline on 0800 807060.