Twenty fish have died from ammonia pollution caused by a fire at a South Yorkshire wood recycling facility that has been raging for more than a week.
Environment Agency officials said today that surface water run-off from R Plevins and Sons in Crow Edge, near Penistone, has caused the death of 20 brown trout in the nearby Sledbrook Dyke.
It comes as the agency announced it is launching an investigation into the cause of the fire, which has been raging since June 2.
The Environment Agency has also issued an enforcement notice to the operator preventing the firm from receiving any further waste materials onto the site.
A spokesman said: “The Environment Agency has also been focussing its attention on a nearby watercourse which has been affected by surface water run-off from the site.
“Officers have taken water quality samples from Sledbrook Dyke and the River Don to assess the impact of the pollution. High levels of ammonia were detected and officers identified 20 dead Brown Trout in Sledbrook Dyke.
“Monitoring shows that ammonia levels in the River Don have now reduced but environment officers will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Dozens of firefighters are still tackling the blaze at the site.
A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said more than 50 firefighters are currently on scene this afternoon following an increase in ferocity.
Between 30 and 40 firefighters have been on scene earlier this week to deal with the fire.
A statement from the Environment Agency said: “As a regulator of waste and recycling sites, the Environment Agency is looking into the cause of the fire and how the recycling facility is being managed by the operator, R. Plevin & Sons.
“This work will ascertain whether there have been any breaches of environmental permitting rules or specific conditions of the operator’s licence.
“Should any offences be found, the Environment Agency will consider the most appropriate course of action in line with our published procedures.
“In addition the Environment Agency has issued an enforcement notice to Plevin which prevents the firm from receiving any further waste materials onto the site. The notice also requires the firm to prevent fire water run-off from entering watercourses.”
Anyone who sees any dead fish or other impact on nearby watercourses is urged to report the matter to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060.