WORK is continuing on the Basingstoke Canal after an oil spill from a delivery truck’s ruptured fuel tank bled through the storm drain system into the waterway.

The vehicle was reported to have hit a bollard near the Church Path car park last week, spilling hundreds of litres of diesel.

Marisa Heath, Surrey County Council cabinet member for environment, released a statement saying: “The Environment Agency is leading on the clean-up operation, with support from Basingstoke Canal Authority and Thames Water. All agencies have officers on the ground, who are currently working to contain the spill by placing oil booms in strategic locations.

“Until further notice no boats, canoes, paddleboards or kayaks should use the canal in the Woking town centre area (between St John’s Locks and Sheerwater Locks) and dogs should not be allowed to swim in the water. 

“Unfortunately, there is likely to be an impact on wildlife in the canal, and the canal authority is in contact with a local wildlife hospital in case their services are needed.”

A spokesman for Surrey County Council, who with Hampshire County Council jointly owns the Basingstoke Canal, said: “The truck contained around 850 litres of diesel and when the fire brigade plugged the fuel tank around 200 remained, so about 650 litres spilled.

Booms stop the oil spreading further along the waterway. (Anthony Gurr)

“Some of this would have been retained in the traps in the storm drainage system that Thames Water and Working BC had cleaned on Saturday morning.”

Officers from Woking Borough Council attended the scene and supported the various agencies with the clear-up operation, ensuring that pollutants were removed from the highway and associated gullies.

Surrey County Council added: “The Environment Agency initially led on site and continued to deal with the trucking company until satisfied that a clean-up had been arranged.  Their environmental consultant is, we understand, Ecologia Environmental Solutions.

“The impact on wildlife has been relatively small so far, because the spill happened in an urban area of the canal where there are not, for example, extensive reed beds. 

“There has been one siting of an oiled moorhen, but no dead fish or other visible wildlife impacts observed or reported so far.

“The diesel is contained between booms around Chobham Road Bridge and is gradually being removed with absorbent mats.

“The canal clean-up is now being led by the truck company’s environmental consultants, on the basis that the polluter pays.”

Residents who spot distressed wildlife should contact the Canal Authority on 01252-370073.