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UK’s Severn Trent Water to pay £1.5 million fine for sewage discharges

  • UK’s Severn Trent Water to pay £1.5 million fine for sewage discharges

Severn Trent Water has been fined £1.5 million for illegal sewage discharges from four water treatment plants between February and August 2018, informs The Guardian.

The Environment Agency successfully prosecuted the water company for several incidents that resulted in sewage being released into nearby water bodies. In the most serious one, the company failed to respond adequately to alarms warning of a blockage, and 360,000 litres of sewage were discharged into a brook.

The company told the Environment Agency that it has changed its management structure and provided better technical support since the incidents occurred. A spokesperson for Severn Trent said the company takes its role of protecting rivers very seriously: “These were historic issues that occurred in 2018 and we self-reported them to the Environment Agency at the time; we have been open and transparent with them throughout the process. We accept and take seriously the court’s findings; we have learned the lessons from the incidents to ensure that we continue to work to the highest environmental standards.”

The conviction comes after the Environment Agency and Ofwat announced they launched a major investigation into sewage treatment works after water companies admitted that they could be releasing unpermitted sewage discharges. The Environment Agency and Ofwat are requiring companies to install flow monitors on more than 2000 wastewater treatment works to check if they comply with permits on the volume of sewage they must treat before they are allowed to divert untreated sewage to storm overflows. “Only now, just before new monitors are installed, have companies reported concerns over potential problems. The EA has begun an immediate investigation of 2,480 sewage treatment works and will prosecute where necessary”, said Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency.

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