Severn Trent fined £350,000 for pollution of 5km of River Amber

Severn Trent Water has been fined £350,000, with Environment Agency costs of £68,003 for a pollution incident in November 2015 that killed and estimated 30,000 fish damaged the ecology of some 5km of the River Amber.

The judge said it was “astonishing” and “beggared belief” that “a company of the size and expertise of Severn Trent Water,” had no policies in place for the type of incident that caused the incident.

The source of the pollution was found to be a release into the river via an outfall pipe of a 20% solution of sodium hydroxide from Severn Trent’s Ogston Water Treatment works. The company reported that the pollutant came from a leak in a dosing chamber.

Judge Smith, in summing up at Derby Crown Court last week, said: “It beggars belief that a company of the size and expertise of Severn Trent Water had no policy whatsoever in respect of potential incidents arising in connection with their dosing chamber, either at this treatment works or indeed at any others throughout the UK. To have no policy whatsover when dangerous chemicals could have leaked out in any number of ways is highly negligent. The size and success of Severn Trent makes it even more astonishing.”