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Fish Deaths at Scott Road Pond

2nd February 2006

One hundred young roach were today introduced to their new home at Scott Road pond, Wallisdown, following the death of more than 200 of the species there last summer.

Following an offer from Bournemouth based Space Industries to fund the replenishment scheme, staff from partner organisation Bournemouth Oceanarium have worked with the Partnership to supply the fish and gain the necessary permissions required.

Jim Reilly, marine biologist at the Oceanarium said, “ As the Scott Road pond sits in Bourne Bottom, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), we have had to consult English Nature and carry out health checks on the fish before the Environment Agency would give the project a green light.  The EA have strict guidelines about the species, size and quantity of fish that can be introduced.”

Last July’s fish deaths were linked to a chemical spill at a small industrial estate on Wallisdown Road, which runs parallel to the valley through Bourne Bottom.  The pollutant had been washed down the road drains and entered the stream which runs just yards away.

Local young people were particularly upset at the fish deaths, so it's been important for them to be involved in the re-introduction.  Others participating included Val Rowling who lives in Scott Road and does a lot of good work to keep the pond and stream clear of litter and overgrowth, and Kate Mitchell, Poole's Bourne Valley Ranger.

11th & 12th July 2005

At least two hundred Roach died in the pond at Scott Road as a result of a pollution incident that started on a Monday morning and was still making its impact felt on Tuesday evening.

The accidental chemical spill at the top end of Wallisdown Road blighted a large swathe of the stream through Bourne Bottom - an area prized as a local nature reserve as well as being internationally designated and protected for it's rare wet heathland habitat, its flora and fauna.

Local residents have been worried and distressed; dog walkers have had to be careful not to allow there pets near the water, and only time will tell how long the ecology of this section of stream might need to recover. 

Chemical_Spill_map.jpg (65271 bytes)

  • click on map for a better view

A dead roach at Scott Road pondThe fish are obvious victims but other less apparent creatures such as frogs, newts and water beetles  could have been affected and important food chains disrupted.  The Environment Agency will carry out a biological survey in the next day or two which will give us a good idea of the extent of the damage.

What happened is potentially an Environment Agency Category 1 pollution incident, the most serious kind, prosecutable through the courts and potentially carrying a heavy fine for the polluters.  However, at this time it has been described to the Agency and the Partnership as a genuine accident and we await to see if any charges will be brought.  Those that caused it apparently did so quite unintentionally and are distraught at the outcome.

But it could so easily have been avoided. 

Why it happened

It simply happened through ignorance.  An accidental spill of an unidentified chemical was hosed through the road drainage system to make the immediate area safe, not realising the impact it would have.  Confusion then caused delays in important messages getting through to the right people.  So ...

  • We must make people aware that the road drains lead straight to the nearest stream or river, as does whatever goes down them.  Tell this sad tale to anyone you know.  Impress upon them that drains are there to take rain water off our roads and other paved surfaces.  They do not lead to a treatment plant or anything like it.

  • Whether you cause it or witness it, there is just one number you need to call in the event of a pollution incident; a free 24-hour hotline that will ensure a swift and helpful response:

The Environment Agency Incident Line

0800 80 70 60

PLEASE make a note of the number and keep it stored in your mobile or close by your home phone.  And use it whenever you need to.

Soap suds in the stream just below the outlet, Scott Road pond

Soap suds just downstream of the pond were an indication of what might have killed the fish

Dead Fish at the bottom of Scott Road pond

On a more positive note:

  • The thanks and admiration of local residents and the Partnership go to the Environment Agency who responded so effectively and traced the source of the pollution within 26 hours of it being reported;

  • The ducks, moorhens and dragonflies that enjoy the pond seem unaffected (as far as we can tell) and this afternoon were going about their business as usual;

  • The Bourne Stream Partnership will work with Borough of Poole Leisure Services and the young people of the surrounding area to re-stock the pond with fish.

Sarah Austin, Project Officer

13th July 2005

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