Investigation under way following oil spill in the River Shannon

An oil spill incident on the River Shannon, south of Athlone, is currently being investigated and treated by the Westmeath County Council.

The incident which happened at the weekend, initially affected the Al River, a tributary of the Shannon in Athlone-Moate municipal district.

In an effort to contain the oil, the county council deployed a boom at the tributary.

Staff from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI ) who are assisting the local authority in the clean up operation, are continuing to monitor and investigate the area affected by an oil spill.

A sposkesperson for the IFI said there had been no clear evidence of a significant fish kill associated with the incident although IFI has noted a number of photographs of a small number of dead fish on Facebook attributed to the event – however as of Tuesday afternoon IFI staff have not identified any dead fish directly caused by this event.

The spokesperson said; "Oil incidences are unusual in that the oil floats on the surface of the water and fish can avoid the effects of the pollutant provided they do not move through the surface film. IFI is continuing to work with the local authority to narrow down the possible sources of the pollutant and to ensure that it is identified and eliminated."

The Westmeath County Council has been treating the oil contamination along the east and west banks of the Shannon since 1pm on Tuesday with specialised biodegradable products suitable for use in such a sensitive wildlife habitat.

It is expected that these treatments will continue to be in use for the next one to two days.


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