More than 100,000 fish have died due to contamination from a leak at fertiliser company Eraspo, claims Omroep Brabant.
In a report on Friday morning, it claims that a leak in a processor at Eraspo in Asten, North Brabant, leached waste into the waters of the river Aa. Its nitrogen content was so high that more than 100,000 fish and other river creatures have died, it reported.
A spokesman for the family business told Omroep Brabant that its owner was horrified by the leak, adding: ‘They have done everything they can to stop things being worse.’
The Aa en Maas water board discovered high concentrations of ammonia in the water around Asten, which – perhaps in combination with another unidentified substance – may have caused the deaths of the fish.
Eraspo dries and processes animal dung in order to make compost, collecting the rising gases in a processor known as an air scrubber. This is normally condensed, then disposed of, but it appears that liquid from the air scrubber leaked onto the ground, ended up in a small stream and was flushed into the Aa – where thousands of fish apparently died due to lack of oxygen.
Today, the 1,200m long ditch by the company has been covered with bags, the contaminated water is being pumped out and locks on either side are being filled with clean water in order to reduce the nitrogen concentration. Eraspo reportedly repaired its machinery immediately after discovering the leak and is examining how to prevent such accidents in future.
Chairman of the local water board Lambert Verheijen told Omroep Brabant that several times a year large amounts of nitrogen are discharged from somewhere into the water, so it is difficult to clean. ‘Animals like water fleas and frogs will have died too,’ he said.
North Sea protest
Meanwhile, around 50 North Sea fishermen are planning a protest in Rotterdam on Saturday about a new European law that means they must land unwanted catches, by giving out free fish near the HAL wharf.
Picture: The River Aa in happier times, Havang(nl) via Wiki Commons.