Investigation ongoing into dead eels found in Kaputone Creek

Environment Canterbury was called around 8 am Wednesday 4 April about a number of dead eels in Kaputone Creek.

Acting zone manager Christchurch West Melton Banks Peninsula Steve Firth said that several staff went to the site and found about 1900 dead eels and 30 fish, along a four kilometre stretch.

“Along this stretch, the contaminant has diluted due to the good water flow which means that after this point we found schools of live fish and eels. We had four staff spend the day investigating the site, including talking to local businesses, taking water samples, and checking further downstream.

It’s possible the contaminant came through the storm water network, but it’s also possible that someone dumped something into the stream. At this stage, we don’t know what the contaminant was.

We’ve got some preliminary water sample results, but as we took more samples for further testing we need to wait for these results so we can get the full picture.  Until we have all the results, we can’t comment on potential contamination. At this stage, we expect to have all results by Friday 13th April.

Investigators believe a contaminant entered the waterway sometime between 4 pm Tuesday and 7 am Wednesday causing the deaths, however, no dead birds were spotted.  They believe whatever contaminant entered the water, it was swift acting but diluted quickly.”

Environment Canterbury staff are visiting the area again on Thursday 5 April.
If any member of the public knows or has seen something then can they please contact Environment Canterbury 0800 765 588.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ramon Pink, advised people should keep out of the water, and ensure their pets don’t go in if they’re in the area.  If people have been in the water, or have health concerns, he suggested they contacted their GP.