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Dead eels terrify dog walker, signal water issues

EMMA WHITTAKER
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2014
Dead Eel

SOMETHING FISHY: A dead eel found on the bank of Oakley Creek after the pH level of the water suddenly dropped.

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An investigation is under way into the sudden deaths of eels in a suburban waterway.

A number of dead eels and some carp were found at Oakley Creek, near to the Waterview Connection construction site, on March 10.

The deaths were due to a section of the creek becoming acidic, an Auckland Council spokesperson says.

Two million litres of clean water were pumped into the creek over a day to restore the natural pH levels.

Continued monitoring shows the water is now safe.

But Albert-Eden-Roskill councillor Cathy Casey is concerned the public were not told about the problem. She discovered 14 dead eels while walking her dogs there last Wednesday.

"By the end [of the walk] I was terrified.

"If eels die something terrible has happened, they're one of the most resilient species. I'm sure everything has been done to the letter, but the public has a right to know.

"I was frightened when my dogs tried to eat an eel that could have been poisoned.

"When something goes wrong with the environment there is a great deal of concern."

The Well Connected Alliance, which is working on the Waterview connection, says it has informed its community liaison group and the Friends of Oakley Creek group about the eels.

The acidity can likely be attributed to warm dry weather and low water flows across Auckland in the days prior, NZTA regional highway manager Tommy Parker says.

A number of possible causes have been looked into so far. Equipment on the construction site was tested and has been ruled out as the cause, he says.

A controlled discharge of stormwater into the creek from a treatment pond to prepare for Cyclone Lusi which hit over the weekend has also been ruled out.

The council is asking people to call 301 0101 if they come across similar problems at Oakley Creek.

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