Welsh Water fined £8,000 for two pollution incidents

Welsh Water clocked up two more water pollution convictions in February. Other companies in court recently on water pollution charges include Zeneca, wool processor Haworth Scouring and a British Airways business.

One of Welsh Water's convictions involved the Manorbier sewage treatment works in Pembrokeshire. While work to convert it into a pumping station was under way, an interim discharge consent required the effluent to be disinfected with hypochlorite. The plant discharges only 500 metres upstream of a popular bathing beach.

Because of safety concerns over keeping hypochlorite tanks at the construction site, Welsh Water requested relaxation of the disinfection requirement for the winter of 1996/97. This was granted subject to treatment being reinstated by 14 April - in time for the 1997 bathing season.

However, an inspection on 22 April revealed that the dosing equipment had not been reinstated. The Agency prosecuted Welsh Water for breaching the consent conditions contrary to section 85(6) of the Water Resources Act 1991. The company pleaded guilty before Tenby magistrates on 17 February and was fined £5,000 with costs of £940.

Welsh Water appeared before Ammanford magistrates the following day to answer two charges relating to an overflow of sewers at Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, in April 1997. It pleaded guilty to causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters contrary to section 85(1) of the 1991 Act, and to discharging sewage in breach of consent conditions contrary to section 85(6).

The court heard that a storm overflow was discharging during dry weather because a sewer was blocked with rags and silt. Welsh Water was fined £1,500 for each offence with £440 costs.

  • Zeneca was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,500 costs in January following a leak of chemicals into a Teesside stream last July. Middlesbrough magistrates heard that 200 litres of an organic chemical mixture escaped into drains from an incorrectly sealed valve. Over 100 fish were killed. Zeneca pleaded guilty to causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters contrary to section 85(1) of the 1991 Act.

  • Wool processor Haworth Scouring was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £2,347 costs in January for polluting a Yorkshire beck with scouring effluent. Keighley magistrates heard that the stream was polluted with detergents and pesticides which were traced to a leaking effluent sump at the company's site. Haworth Scouring pleaded guilty to causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters contrary to section 85(1) of the 1991 Act.

  • British Airways Maintenance, part of the British Airways Group, was fined £12,000 with £3,000 costs after admitting polluting a Glamorgan brook with foam from a fire-fighting system last August. Before Barry magistrates in February, the company pleaded guilty to causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters, contrary to section 85(1) of the 1991 Act. The foam overloaded a channel running to sewer causing the foam to run into surface water drains.

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