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Severn Trent Water fined £20,000 for polluting Gloucestershire brook

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Article written by 01 November 2012

Severn Trent Water fined £20,000 for polluting Gloucestershire brook

On the 22nd October 2012, Severn Trent Water Limited pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court to one charge of breaching a condition of their Environmental Permit, which led to a discharge of untreated sewage to a tributary of the Ley Brook in Huntley, Gloucestershire.

The company was fined £20,000, ordered to pay £3,322.75 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge.

The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under Regulation 38(2) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010.

On 6 September 2011, a report was made to the Environment Agency by Severn Trent Water Ltd, of a pollution incident at Huntley sewage treatment works.

Following this report an Environment Agency officer attended and took samples from the brook. The samples smelled of sewage and ammonia levels were found to be high.

Further investigation found that the blockage at the sewage works inlet was causing untreated sewage to enter the Ley Brook. This went undetected by Severn Trent Water for almost two weeks.

This was attributable to a reduced maintenance schedule, multiple failures with Severn Trent Water’s telemetry system that should have alerted them to the incident, and a delayed response once the problem was identified.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said: “We take cases of pollution to watercourses very seriously due to the environmental damage that can be caused. In this case, Severn Trent Water fell short of their responsibilities to maintain their sewage treatment works which led to the blockage, and so we did not hesitate to prosecute.”

A representative for Severn Trent Water apologised for the offence and said that they acted promptly once they were aware of the problem.

MORE INFORMATION Contact Jessica Campbell on 0121 711 5855/5829/5842

(these numbers can also be used during an emergency to contact a duty press officer)

Website: www.environment-agency.gov.uk

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