HUNDREDS of fish have been found dead and dying in both the River Weaver and River Dane.

Fish have been found at several spots, including Winsford Flashes, Hartford Golf Club, Vale Royal Locks, Leftwich Viaduct, and Northwich Marina, where the two rivers meet.  

The Environment Agency (EA) say high temperatures cause mass fish deaths, as warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen. 

But concerns have been raised over recent heavy rains which are known to overwhelm sewage systems.

When this happens, water companies can legally pump untreated sewage into rivers to ‘solve’ the immediate problem, which causes oxygen levels to drop further still. 

A local fisherman, Shaun Boyle, who saw the dead fish, said: “A lot of fish were on top of the water today, dying due to lack of oxygen, or so the environment people have told us.

“What they don’t tell us, and I see all the time as I live next to the Dane, is when we have really heavy downpours, the sluice gates are opened and raw sewage fills the river.

"Some of the stuff that comes out is absolutely disgusting. Something's got to be done.

“This is the real killer as microbes in the water eat the sewage, which removes the oxygen from the water.

“People swim in the river too, especially children.”

Cheshire West and Chester Councillor, Sam Naylor, who chairs a task group investigating river pollution is Cheshire West, said: “I have discussed these fish deaths with the Environment Agency who say it’s happening all over the country.

"It's caused by hot weather, and consequently, low oxygen exacerbated by reduced water levels.

“The storm rain may have led to some sewage pollution in some parts of the country."

Data from The Rivers Trust confirms untreated human waste is discharged into both rivers from dozens of water treatment sites on a regular basis.

A single water treatment works near Crewe, upriver of Northwich and Winsford, discharged raw sewage into the Weaver 69 time in 2022, for a total of 287 hours.

Northwich town councillor, Lee Siddall, said: “If there has been a storm which has led to raw sewage discharge, the Environment Agency should be going out there as a priority to test the water and let us know where the pollution has come from, or the reason why this has happened.

“It’s essential that we know the reasons why so we can prevent it in future and learn lessons from what’s gone on.”

This week, the EA confrimed they test water at 42 sites on the River Weaver and 18 on the River Dane, but they were unable to say how often it is done.

A spokesman said: "The precise details of our sampling programme for 2023 will be subject to changes during the year.

“We take tens of thousands of water quality samples every year as part of our work to keep rivers clean.

“Sites selected for monitoring are based on local priorities."