Leicester Magistrates’ Court has fined Anglian Water £146,000 with more than £10,000 in costs for polluting a Northamptonshire brook with sewage in 2016.
In a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency, the court found the company’s negligence and lack of maintenance were behind a number of failures at its Yardley Hastings sewage plant which polluted Grendon Brook with sewage.
The pollution was caused by various failures at the pumping station and alarms which would have alerted staff to the problem failed to sound. Anglian pleaded guilty to breaching the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and the Water Resources Act 1991.
Investigations found the faults were due to a lack of maintenance – Anglian had no records of the affected parts being cleaned or maintained in the year leading up to the incident.
The pollution wasn’t acted on for two days after being reported and the company had no record of the report being made. An alarm triggered the same day to indicate a problem as there was no flow from the pumping station to the main sewage works, but this was mistakenly closed down without being resolved.
The Environment Agency said: “Earlier this year, we pledged a tougher approach towards water companies that don’t live up to their environmental responsibilities, and this case proves that we will hold them to account when they pollute the natural environment.”