Water officials inspect Storrington pond at centre of pollution alert

Fish at Storrington Mill Pond have been reported as 'gasping for air. '' Photo:  Steve Robards SR1917944 SUS-190907-160357001
Fish at Storrington Mill Pond have been reported as 'gasping for air. '' Photo: Steve Robards SR1917944 SUS-190907-160357001

Water specialists have been called out twice to a village pond at the centre of a pollution alert.

Concerns were raised over the state of Storrington Mill Pond earlier this week after fish were spotted ‘gasping for air.’

Local businesswoman Val Challis said: “The pond is absolutely filthy and needs air pumping into it.”

But in a statement today, Southern Water said that it had visited the pond twice in recent weeks and had not found evidence of pollution.

A spokesman said: “On the first occasion a blockage was found in a sewer nearby causing a manhole to overflow. This was jetted to clear fat that was wrongly disposed of down the drain. Our team took five samples in the stream and pond and found no trace of pollution and fish were observed swimming healthily.

“We were called back a second time but found no problem with any of our systems.

“Samples were taken and tested and again no trace of pollution was found.

“All water and habitats in our catchments are important to us and we will continue to work with the Environment Agency and our partners at Horsham District Council to ensure healthy rivers, streams and ponds.”

Horsham District Council, which is responsible for the pond, said the council took the matter very seriously and was still investigating.

A spokeswoman said that recent dry weather and unprecedented heat could have led to the pond becoming a bit dehydrated and the water not being as oxygenated as it should be.

But, she said, investigations were continuing.