A farm trailer turned over above the Toppesfield Brook yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, spilling around 5,000 litres of pesticide directly into the brook.
The farmer contacted the Environment Agency, which was able to dam the brook minimising the amount of pesticide travelling further downstream.
The pesticide was due to be spread over fields north of Finchingfield, but the unfortunate accident happened on a farm bridge over the brook before most of the pesticide had been used. The Environment Agency was alerted by the farmer.
A specialist team was quickly called in to dam the brook. The contaminated water was then pumped from the brook to adjacent fields. Working through the night, the Environment Agency built a second dam so a further section of the brook could be cleared in the same way and a third one could be put in place if thought necessary.
Jamie Fairfull from the Environment Agency said: ‘The fact that we were called in has prevented the damage to the area from being far worse. We will still see some fish deaths and parts of the brook will be damaged, but this could have been far worse.
‘If you are involved with or see anything happen which you think could cause a risk to the environment, please call our free emergency helpline on 0800 80 70 60 immediately. The faster we know about things the faster we can decide what needs to be done. ‘
The brook and main river system is continuing to be monitored by the Environment Agency and more will be done, including the possibility of a third dam, to limit any further damage if necessary.
The public has been advised to keep their dogs on leads in the area and to stop them entering the water.