Pond waters back to normal after fish deaths

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ENVIRONMENTAL experts are still unsure what caused ‘thousands’ of fish to die in the space of a week at a Somercotes nature reserve.

Members of the Alfreton-based Palmer Morewood Angling Club spent days picking out gasping fish with nets after oxygen levels dropped at Pennytown Ponds.

But despite immediate measures to pump oxygen into the waters of the beauty spot, tests by the Environment Agency are yet to reveal the cause of the problem.

Environment officer at the East Midlands division of the Environment Agency Neil Ratcliffe, said: “There is no indication that the cause of the fish deaths was pollution related.

“We think it was caused by natural events, possibly due to a heavy frost thaw and a lack of rain.

“But there’s always potential for pollution to happen and we will be making sure all of the nearby businesses are behaving themselves.”

The Environment Agency say officers are conducting regular tests at the Green Flag status ponds to check on the pollution levels in the water.

Mr Ratcliffe said they are working with businesses on the estate to check whether drains and yards are kept clean. It is a possible that water drainage from the nearby businesses could seep into the ponds, polluting them.

However fishes are no longer dying and measures to pump oxygen back into the water have been successful.

Bails of straw have also been placed around the upper two ponds at the site, as the water there has become stagnated. The move should stop stagnant water seeping into the large lower pond, used by the 300 member Palmer Morewrood fishing club.

“We are still doing regular monitoring and the oxygen levels of the bottom pond seem to be holding at around 80 per cent,” said Mr Ratcliffe.

“It was getting down to about ten per cent when the fish were dying.”

Assistant landscape officer at Amber Valley Borough Council Richard Hodgkinson, said both authorities had considered dredging the ponds as layers of silt at the bottom of the waters can absorb oxygen and suffocate the fish.

He added that the council was seeking advice from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Groundwork Derby and Derbyshire.

Chairman of the Palmer Morewood Angling Club Keith Wood is pleased to see anglers fill the ponds for a course fishing match on Sunday.

He added that the club are looking into ways of restocking the fish.