The Environment has issued a safety warning after a “devastating pollution incident” on a 20-mile stretch of Essex’s River Blackwater.
A leak of the chemical tributyltin has killed thousands of fish between Coggeshall and Kelvedon. Warning signs have been put up along the banks after a young angler developed a skin rash and the EA has advised people not to use the river.
The alarm was raised on Monday morning when a member of the public noticed dead fish.
The EA is now investigating whether the chemical, used as a wood preserver, could be residue from a recent spillage at a distribution depot.
Patrick Ripton, the environment protection manager for the area, said officials had decided against removing fish from the river as the pollution seemed to be lessening. “This is a difficult exercise that would be stressful for the fish and could disrupt the balance of stock in the river.
“Interviews are currently being carried out in connection with this devastating pollution incident.”
The EA is pumping in water from the
Great Ouse to speed up the flow and is monitoring the situation in the Blackwater estuary.

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