A leaking oil tank illegally dumped in Horsham on Tuesday (October 27) could have caused ‘harm to the local environment’, the Environment Agency said.
Members of Horsham Rugby Club alerted emergency services after discovering the large container at the entrance to the club in Hammerpond Road.
Firefighters and the Environment Agency were forced to take immediate action to contain the oil, preventing it from contaminating a nearby stream.
Robert Cornell of the Environment Agency said: “It’s important we catch who was responsible for dumping this tank.
“This was a criminal act, due not only to the dumping of a hazardous substance on somebody’s land, but then causing pollution by leaving oil to leak out of it.
“Thankfully, due to the swift action of our officers and our partner organisations on the scene, the impact of the pollution was minimal.
“But it had real potential to be a very significant incident and cause harm to the local environment.
“We believe that either somebody was getting rid of an old oil tank and decided to dump it, or that the tank had been stolen from a premises.
“Either way we would welcome any information on how this came to be illegally dumped, as we’d be very interested in speaking to any individuals involved.”
West Sussex Highways Department also attended to remove the oil from drains some of the substance had entered, and cleaned oil from the tarmac to prevent hazards on the road.
The Environment Agency has appealed to members of the public for information about the origins of the green plastic oil container, or who was responsible for dumping it.
Anyone with information can contact the Environment Agency on their freephone Emergency Hotline on 0800 807060, quoting reference NIRS 1383920.
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