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Scole - Environment Agency rush to River Waveney to urgently re-oxygenate water after oxygen levels crash to 1.7%

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The River Waveney had to undergo emergency oxygenation after fish were seen struggling to breathe on the water’s surface on Saturday.

Chris Brooks, a trustee of the Scole Nature Trails Trust, raised the alarm after spotting something was awry when out for a walk with his wife, June.

It prompted the trust to issue a warning to members of the public not to enter, or allow pets to enter, the River Waveney at, or downstream of, the Pocket Park stretch between the A140 and A143, which runs downstream past Hoxne.

Chris Brookes, who first raised the alarm.
Chris Brookes, who first raised the alarm.

“My wife and I walk along the river every morning, litter-pick and check the river out,” said Mr Brooks.

“We were down there at 7.30am and the first thing we noticed was that the river was almost black.

“Normally, in floods, it can go a sandy brown colour, but black is unusual.

The Environment Agency were on the scene until 9pm.
The Environment Agency were on the scene until 9pm.

“There were several small fish on the surface that were either gasping for air or had turned belly up.

“I phoned the Environment Agency, before contacting fellow trustee Peter Charles, who has an oxygen meter.

“The reading was down to 1.7 per cent, and we would look to report anything below 20 per cent.”

An oxygenation pump was placed in the river by the Environment Agency, with oxygen levels returning to a normal level of 47 per cent by around 9pm.

Testing was carried, before the river was finally given the all clear. It was established that oxygen levels had dropped after a heavy silt disturbance due to adverse weather conditions.

The Environment Agency made the following statement: "“We were notified about low dissolved oxygen levels in the River Waveney by the Scole Nature Trails Trust.

The Environment Agency were on the scene until 9pm.
The Environment Agency were on the scene until 9pm.

“As a result our field team deployed oxygenating units and aerators, consisting of two from the road bridge and another in the river itself. These increased the oxygen in the water back to normal levels.

“The Environment Agency works around the clock to respond to environmental incidents, including reports of fish in distress which often increase during the summer months as water temperatures increase.

“Anyone who sees fish in distress should contact us 24/7 on 0800 80 70 60.”

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