THE Environment Agency has started an investigation after “hundreds of fish” were killed in the River Arun near Horsham.
Environment Agency officers are assessing the impact of a “suspected sewage discharge” on the River Arun, which is having a “toxic effect on fish”.
A two-mile stretch south of Horsham is affected and was reported to the agency by a member of the public yesterday afternoon (Wednesday).
The source of the pollution has not yet been confirmed.
Specialist Environment Agency fisheries and environment officers have taken samples of water and dead fish.
The County Times understands that they are “confident” that they will be able to identify the source.
Fish are still in distress lower down the river and Southern Water Services Limited are deploying aeration equipment in a bid to prevent further fish deaths.
Sewage pollution strips out oxygen in the water, leading to fish suffocation.
Michael Turner, from the Environment Agency said: “This is a major sewage pollution incident which has caused the death of a huge number of fish. It’s distressing to see such damage to a beautiful part of our environment, which will impact communities and particularly anglers enjoyment of the river.
“We are still on the ground assessing the impact of this incident and have started a criminal investigation in to its cause.”
The exact location of the incident has not been disclosed but the County Times will bring you updates as more information is released.
Members of the public can report pollution incidents by calling the Environment Agency’s emergency hotline on 0800 80 70 60.