Disappearing Northampton pond ‘was caused by repair to burst pipe’

Shrunken ponds at Bradlaugh Fields
Shrunken ponds at Bradlaugh Fields

The mysterious disappearance of a pond at a Northampton nature reserve could have been caused by repairs to a leaking pipe, Anglian Water has said.

The water company and Northampton Borough Council carried out an investigation after confused walkers at Bradlaugh Fields reported a sudden dip in the park’s pond levels.

But it now appears the levels park patrons had become used to seeing were being sustained by a leaking underground pipe, not natural groundwater

Anglian Water, which repaired a burst water main half a kilometre away in the park earlier this month, found no evidence that their work had caused any additional drainage, but today suggested the work may have stopped a leak that had previously raised the pond’s levels.

An Anglian Water spokeswoman said: “It’s possible a long-running trickling leak from the damaged pipe was adding to natural groundwater to keep the ponds topped up.

“Once we repaired the damaged pipe, we effectively stopped this water filtering underground and rising up in the ponds at Bradlaugh Fields.

“This is the first time we’ve encountered anything like this.

“We suspect the leak was simply a slow trickle that only very recently ‘burst’ and became more visible.

“We recognise that the ponds and the park are popular locally, so we’ve reaffirmed our support for the council to examine possible options for the area.”

One regular dog-walker at Bradlaugh Fields said: “The ponds are now just muddy, with ducks wandering around not knowing what to do with themselves.”