According to the Environment Agency, a water firm was fined more than half a million pounds after 23 hours of raw sewage discharge into a river resulted in the deaths of 5,000 fish.
At Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, Anglian Water entered a guilty plea to a permit violation and was sentenced to pay a fine of £510,000, costs of £50,000, and a victim surcharge of £170.
During the event, approximately six million liters of raw sewage were dumped into the Great Ouse near Brackley, Northamptonshire.
On May 24, 2017, just before 6 o’clock, the discharge from the emergency overflow at the pumping station began, and it lasted until around 5 o’clock the next day.
This is “very troubling,” according to Anglian Water, who also stated that they “take our duty of care to the environment extremely seriously and truly regret any negative impact when things go wrong.”
The pumps stopped working due to electrical issues, and the discharge remained undiscovered because the early warning alarm system had failed.
The Environment Agency concluded that the contamination had traveled 12 kilometers down the river.
Other fish killed included smaller species like bullhead, dace, stone loach, minnow, gudgeon, and 79 brook lampreys. Fish destroyed also included brown trout, chub, and pike. Additionally, dead signal crayfish were seen.
According to Andrew Raine, environment manager at the Environment Agency, “This pollution had a significant negative impact on the environment, causing a significant fish kill and damaging 12 km of the upper River Great Ouse.
“Polluters should always be held accountable, and we will always look into big pollution incidents and prosecute individuals involved, to the extent that our resources permit.
“We are appreciative that the amount of the fine recognizes the harm that this sewage spill from Anglian Water has caused to the river ecosystems.”
The Environment Agency’s chief executive, Sir James Bevan, added: “We appreciate this statement.
A major crime is serious pollution.
“We work diligently to safeguard and improve the environment, and find it very disturbing when situations like this occur,” a spokeswoman for Anglian Water said.
We are extremely committed to continue to advance and get closer to attaining our zero pollution objective because we are aware that there is no room for complacency.