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Published: 2011-12-13 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council investigators are appealing for public help in establishing what has killed hundreds of eels in the headwaters of the Piako River near Richmond Downs at Walton.

The council was alerted to the deaths by a local farmer on Monday this week but information gathered from locals suggests the deaths probably occurred late last week.

”All of the farmers our investigation staff have spoken to are pretty gutted about the number of dead eels. But, despite inspecting all of the properties around the area, we are still at a loss to explain what has happened to cause the deaths,” said compliance and education manager Rob Dragten.

“We have been unable to locate any sign of contaminants entering the waterway that could explain this.”

Council staff suspect that a toxic chemical of some sort has been discharged as eels are pretty hardy and usually will swim away downstream from most pollution spills.

“We are very keen to get information from the public that might help us understand why these eels have died as it indicates a significant water quality problem,” Mr Dragten said.

“We are appealing for anyone with any information to contact the investigations team on 0800 800 401.”