The Environment Agency is appealing for information after heating oil got into the Chennels Brook at Rusper Road in Horsham last Thursday.
On Friday 16 March 2007 the Environment Agency and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service received reports of a strong smell of oil. Environment Agency Officers, together with West Sussex Fire and Rescue, attended the location immediately and found oil discharging from a surface water pipe into a ditch that feeds into the Chennels Brook opposite the junction of Rusper Road and Tylden Way.
The Environment Agency and West Sussex Fire and Rescue worked hard to prevent serious pollution of Warnham Nature Reserve. Officers used equipment to contain the majority of the oil and it was then removed using absorbants. Oil that had got into the main Chennels Brook was contained further downstream and then removed. Environment Agency Officers believe the oil was domestic heating oil.
Environment Officers worked with Southern Water to establish that oil had got into a surface water drain on either Rusper Road or the roads leading off it, the bottom end of Lambs Farm Road or a drain on Tylden Way or Bartholomew Way.
Environment Officer Rob Cornell said:
"We suspect the oil may have come from a leaking domestic oil tank or it could even have been disposed of illegally. We urge anyone in the area who stores oil to check their tank for leaks. If you have any information that could help us find the source of this oil please contact us immediately on our Emergency Hotline 0800 80 70 60 to help us prevent further pollution.
"We would like to thank West Sussex Fire and Rescue and Southern Water for their help in responding to this oil pollution. It is only thanks to the residents who reported it and the quick response from our Officers and the Fire Service that we were able to avoid any serious environmental impact at Warnham Nature Reserve."