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  • by Trevor Loveday

Thames pays out £700k in fines and costs after raw sewage release into watercourse

Thames Water has been fined more than £600,000 plus costs for polluting a Berkshire waterway with some 30Ml of untreated sewage in 2014 killing hundreds of fish. The pollution was the result of “poorly performing equipment” and “failures by Thames Water management.”

In a case brought by the Environment Agency (EA), Aylesbury Crown Court heard how Thames had polluted the Maidenhead Ditch – which joins the River Cut – with raw and partially treated sewage. Thames’ Maidenhead sewage treatment works held permits to discharge sewage into the watercourse in storm conditions and to discharge treated final effluent into the watercourse. But the EA said “Thames Water did not meet the conditions of these permits around the time of the incident.”

The EA said there were repeated “discharges of untreated or poorly treated raw sewage into the river” and failures by Thames “to react adequately to alarms used to alert them to the serious problems.” the EA added: “Log book entries suggest ongoing discharges and other problems at a site that was struggling to cope.”

Thames was ordered to pay £607,000 in fines and costs of £100,000.

EA officer Ben Govan said: “Pollution could and should have been avoided had the many warnings and alerts leading up to the incident been acknowledged and dealt with properly."

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