1985 January: Fish Kills at Boort. Pesticides Suspected: Endosulfan.

Rural Water Corporation Memorandum February 27 1985

“…On January 14th I was notified of another fish kill in the 2/2 Channel at Boort. This fish kill occurred in the same channel and in the same area as a fish kill I documented last year…It appears that this recent incident was associated with a tomato grower pumping wastewater back into the channel during or following aerial spraying…” Endosulfan?

Pesticide Review Committee Minutes March 22 1985

Rural Water Commission uses 22,000 litres of acrolein for some 250 acrolein treatments to control submersed weed growth over a supply channel/drain length of 2200km. Fish kill reported on the Goulburn River December 1984.

Rural Water Corporation Memorandum November 11 1986

“… In particular we have had a reported fish kill at Boort as a result of spraying of a tomato crop”


Rural Water Commission – 17 January 1985

1. On 16 Jan 1985 I received a complaint from ***, Boort, that there were dead fish in two of our channels. The circumstances of the report seemed identical to those reported by me in Complaint Number 1/84, dated 13 Jan 84.

2a). … There are 1,200 acres of irrigated tomatoes grown in the area, which have been aerial sprayed every 10/14 days since the end of October. The various farmers combine for the spraying, half of the properties being done every 5/7days.

b) There are a range of chemicals used, but two in particular, Endosulfan and synthetic pyrethrins (either simbush or sumicide) are toxic to fish in very low concentrations.

c) Fish deaths had occurred intermittently over two to three weeks, in channel No. 2/2, but only one dead fish was seen in channel No.2.

3. It is generally accepted that the pumping of drainage water back into channels is not acceptable. However ***, the owner of *** was, some time ago given permission, on a one off basis, to pump drainage water from irrigated tomatoes back into channel No. 2/2. Contrary to the original directive, the pump was left by the channel and unbeknown to the Baliff, pumping has continued intermittently ever since. In fact irrigation, drainage pumping, and aerial spraying are believed to have occurred simultaneously. No dead fish have been reported upstream of the pumping point on channel No 2.2…