1982 January: Fish Kill East Goulburn Channel (Vic). Pesticide: Endosulfan.

State Rivers and Water Supply Commission
19th January 1982

Fish Kill – Drain 4 and East Goulburn Channel 12 – Shepparton

On the 5th of January, 1982 I investigated a report from Head Baliff *** of a fish kill in Drain No.4, Shepparton. Drain 4 is part of the irrigation system in that it discharges into the East Goulburn Channel 12 which is also a source of domestic supply…

The results of the investigation are as follows:

1. A large number of redfin and carp were dead in the Number 4 drain and along the East Goulburn Channel 12. Sizes of the fish varied from 5 to 50 cm and would have numbered well over 200 individuals over 2 to 3 kilometres of the watercourse. It was difficult to estimate the number of dead fish as the kill was at least 3 days old when observed.

2. It was obvious that the kill was due to a toxic substance in the water. This was established by examination of the dead fish. Upstream of the point where the 5/4 drain enters the Drain, live fish and other aquatic life was seen. Downstream of that point no aquatic life was observed.

3. A tomato crop on *** was sprayed some 4 days prior to this investigation by Field Air (Benalla) Pty Ltd.

In the event of any overspray occurring it would eventually discharge into drain 4.

After investigating all possible sources of contamination of the water the only factor which could be established was that overspray into the channel or the drain may have caused the fish kill.

On the 14th of January I saw the owner of the tomato crop *** who said that Field Air (Benalla) Pty Ltd had sprayed his crop on the 1st of January with Thiodan (Endosulfan) and Copper Cocide…