December 20, 2018 5.10 pm This story is over 35 months old

Company named and shamed over River Witham pollution

At least 100,000 fish were killed

The company responsible for a major pollution in the River Witham, which killed at least 100,000 fish, has been named by the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency has served a ‘notice of liability’ to Omex Agriculture Limited, a company based in Tupholme, under the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2015.

It is only the second notice the Environment Agency has issued since the regulations came into place.

It means the agricultural and fertiliser company must submit proposals for repairing the environmental damage caused when Ammonia entered the River Witham in March this year.

The notice was served on December 5 which would normally mean 28 days for a company to lodge an appeal, but Omex Agriculture will have a few extra days due to the Christmas period. If there is no appeal they must submit proposals by mid-January.

Omex Agriculture Limited is a privately owned business that was established in the UK in 1976.

It has developed into a group of companies operating throughout the world, who develop and market scientifically proven products and services for agriculture and industry.

Officers re-stocking the river this summer. Photo: Environment Agency

Caused by ammonia

The ammonia affected the river from Bardney to the Wash, severely impacting the condition of the river and its ecosystems.

It’s thought to be the worst river pollution incident ever recorded in the county.

An investigation into the circumstances of the incident of the pollution continues. Any further action will be considered once the investigation is complete.

People in the Kirkstead area reported sightings of tens of thousands of dead fish floating on the surface of the water between Bardney and Kirkstead on Sunday, March 4.

A large number of fish were then found dead at Kirkstead Bridge near Woodhall Spa. The affected area of the River Witham is from Bardney Bridge Lock to Anton’s Gowt.

The Environment Agency restocked the River Witham with 200,000 tench this summer. Photo: Environment Agency

After the incident, EA experts and biologists worked tirelessly with other organisations to clean up the pollution and mitigate the damage.

Fisheries teams have since re-stocked the river with more than 1.5 million fish larvae, including common bream, roach and tench, plus re-introducing around 40,000 roach and common bream ranging from 30 – 40mm long.

The Environment Agency restocked the River Witham with 200,000 tench this summer.

Photo: Environment Agency

Officers re-stocking the River Witham this summer. Photo: Environment Agency

Environment Manager at the EA Manfai Tang said: “We know the pollution had a devastating effect on delicate river ecosystems, and issuing this notice means the process of helping the river recover to its natural, healthy state can start sooner.

“It’s one way we’re working to protect and improve our environment for local people and wildlife. We look forward to receiving proposals from Omex for review, and working with them to restore the Witham.”

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