The mysterious disappearance of a pond at a Northampton park could have been caused by repairing a burst pipe that had steadily been leaking... for about 30 years.
The discovery follows an investigation carried out by Anglian Water and Northampton Borough Council at Bradlaugh Fields, after puzzled walkers reported a sudden dip in the park’s pond levels.
Anglian Water, which repaired a burst water main half a kilometre away in the park earlier this month, found no evidence that its work had directly caused any drainage, but on further investigation, it has suggested that it may have stopped a leak that had previously raised the pond’s levels.
Northampton Borough councillor Mike Hallam, cabinet member for environment, said: “After an in-depth investigation by Anglian Water it was found they had resolved a trickling leak which had been the source of water for the stream and ponds for the past 30 years.
“We are discussing a way forward.”
An Anglian Water spokesman added: “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’re sorry we didn’t pick up the damage to this pipe sooner, however, repairing it was the right thing to do.”
Yesterday Northampton North MP Michael Ellis said he refused to believe the leak had existed for decades.
Mr Ellis said he had spoken to the chief executive of Anglian Water, Peter Simpson, who had told him the damage caused by workers in Bradlaugh Fields was unacceptable.
He said: “The chief executive said he was making no excuses for the mess. He has committed Anglian Water to repairing the damage.
“There is going to be an independent hydrological survey to look again at the issue of why the water table has dropped.
“I just don’t accept that a leak caused the stream and the pond.”
PUBLIC URGED TO SUPPORT BRADLAUGH FIELDS GROUP
Bradlaugh Fields is a public park run by Northampton Borough Council. Managers of the park said they were aware of the ponds drying up due to a water leak in the fields and that it was very upsetting that this should happen. They have said they will be working on a solution with councillors and MP Michael Ellis.
In the meantime, they have advised anyone wishing to support the park and its ponds to join a ‘People Power’ campaign by contacting Michael Ellis at: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Councillor Michael Hallam at: email@example.com; or NBC Director of Parks , Julie Seddon on Northampton 837837.
Anglian Water also runs a sustainable water supply campaign called Love Every Drop. For more information visit: anglianwater.co.uk