Compliance is non-negotiable, says SEPA, as Scottish Water fined for pollution

Scottish Water was fined £17,000 at Airdrie Sheriff Court on 7 February for causing an estimated two million litres of untreated sewage to discharge to the Red Burn from Dunnswood Sewage Treatment Works, Cumbernauld, in July 2014. Blocked macerators caused a backup at the unmanned site, which subsequently discharged via an emergency outflow pipe. Telemetry warning signals failed, resulting in a number of fish mortalities across the Red Burn and in the Bonny Water which is used for fishing.

Callum Waddell, Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) reporting officer, said: “SEPA is very clear that compliance with regulations designed to protect the environment is not optional. If telemetry systems had been working properly then Scottish Water would have received the alarm… It was this failure that led to… a successful prosecution.”

Separately, SEPA last week said it had also prosecuted farm David McCreery and Sons for discharging slurry and silage into the Gifford Water, East Lothian. It was fined £1,200.

SEPA chief executive, Terry A’Hearn, commented: “This is at the core of our One Planet Prosperity regulatory strategy. Businesses and organisations that do the right thing for the environment will be supported by SEPA, they’ll be helped to keep doing the right thing and do even better. Those that get it wrong will be held to account in this way.

“We now look forward to working with both organisations to ensure that their environmental management improves, these incidents don’t reoccur and they can move on and become top class environmental stewards in their own right.”