BABY swans are said to have died after contaminated surface water flowed down into a river.

A dead cygnet was spotted floating on the surface of the River Test at Redbridge Flyover.

This came after workman in the area had spotted that the water had become contaminated with what appeared to be oil flowing down stream.

Other young swans that were previously seen in the area have now not been seen since.

Now though, pictures of the dead cygnet and the oil in the water on Friday have surfaced on social media, with Howard Taylor, the owner of fly fishing specialists, Upstream Dry Fly, claiming that this has been happening for years.

Daily Echo: Contaminated water in the River Test near Redbridge flyover. Photo by: Charlie Bull.Contaminated water in the River Test near Redbridge flyover. Photo by: Charlie Bull.

He said that when it rains, water from the nearby industrial estate is washed off into the storm drains which empties into the river and added that the interceptor on the site, which is owned by Southern Water is “not fit for purpose”.

He said: “It’s been happening for about 20 years. We now need a campaign to get this stopped.

“This interceptor is not fit for purpose, they need to invest some money in the infrastructure and protect our natural environment. These run offs are killing the species that the nature reserve is in place to protect.”

A spokesperson for Southern Water said: “These pictures clearly illustrate the damage that can be caused when harmful chemicals enter the drainage and sewer networks. In this incident the contamination entered the river directly from our surface water network after the latest heavy rainfall and is not linked to our wastewater sewer network.

“We have conducted an investigation alongside the EA and are working hard to mitigate future contamination.

“We have identified and are working with two motoring businesses in the nearby industrial estate that have been found to be responsible for extremely large quantities of diesel and other motoring fluids entering the surface water network (designed to take only rain water run-off into the river).

“They are as devastated as us to see the recent photos emerging from the area.”

The Environment Agency confirmed that it is are aware of the incident and said it is “actively monitoring the situation.”

The RSPCA said it had been liaising with the charity, Swan Lifeline, about the situation.