Investigations into culprits over oil leak at Northampton park ‘could take several weeks’

The inlet that feeds the polluted part of Swanhaven Park. Litter has blocked the grate so little water gets through. However, enough oil has passed through to endanger or kill several birds.

The inlet that feeds the polluted part of Swanhaven Park. Litter has blocked the grate so little water gets through. However, enough oil has passed through to endanger or kill several birds.

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Water company workers have been forced to flush out the sewer system near an oil leak at a Northampton park.

Anglian Water took action after the leak of what is believed to be trade or engine oil, possibly from the Round Spinney industrial estate.

The source can be difficult to pinpoint, but the Environment Agency have the power to prosecute if they find out who is responsible.

Anglian Water spokeswoman

The Chron reported yesterday how several cygnets died from ingesting oil at a lake in Swanhaven Park, off Crestwood Road, Thorplands.

Anglian Water said it has flushed out the sewer system because of concerns the build-up of oil could cause blockages and leaks.

A water company spokeswoman said investigations into the source of the leak, carried out between itself and the Environment Agency upstream of the spinney, will take several weeks.

She said: “We will pass anything significant to the Environment Agency to follow up.

“The source can be difficult to pinpoint, but the Environment Agency have the power to prosecute if they find out who is responsible.”

The RSPCA rescued a dozen birds from the spillage but believe 15 more could be at risk.

Anglian Water said the amount of oil may not have appeared significant at source but even a small amount can spread huge distance. For example, one litre of oil can spread over an acre of water because a film on the surface can be as thin as a single molecule.

The oil can then get into the feathers of birds, depriving them of air that keeps them warm and allows them to dive for food. There is also the danger of themn swallowing the toxic chemicals.

And the sewerage system can suffer if oil builds up in pipes.

A spokeswoman said: “We would urge people to be careful what they are putting down their toilets and drains.”