Southern Water was ordered to pay £8,100 after polluting the Great Stour river with sewage. Sevenoaks magistrates heard that the discharge occurred from a pumping station which had been left unattended for two months.
Sewage was reported to be entering the river on 22 January, and the source was found to be the company's Chapel Farm pumping station. The river contained sewage fungus, suggesting that the discharge had been occurring for at least several days.
The Environment Agency said the discharge occurred because one pump had stopped due to a blockage and the other had failed to start due to a faulty timer. Although a remote alarm had sounded on 16 January this had not been acted upon.
Southern Water was fined £7,500 after pleading guilty to causing polluting matter to enter the river, contrary to section 85(1) of the 1991 Act.