Flower firm fined for polluting discharge

A Lincolnshire flower firm which discharged thousands of litres of toxic effluent to surface water every day for over a year has been ordered to pay more than £7,000.

Flamingo Flowers appeared before Spalding magistrates on 21 March to admit to causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters, contrary to section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991.

The court heard that an Environment Agency investigation found the company had been discharging effluent to surface water drains without a consent for over a year.

Up to 15,000 litres per day of effluent were being discharged, containing a mix of chemicals used to keep flowers fresh.

The discharge caused gross pollution over 1.5 kilometres of a slow-flowing watercourse, the Childers South Drove. Dissolved oxygen levels were found to be low, allowing only a few pollution-tolerant invertebrates to survive.

The Agency told the court the company had saved money by not treating its effluent or obtaining a discharge consent. The mixture present in the effluent, Chrysal Clear RVB, was acidic and contained chlorinated hydrocarbons. Its safety data sheet warned that it "may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment" and should not be disposed of to sewers, surface waters or groundwater.

The company claimed to have made the discharge in ignorance, but it had the mixture’s safety data sheets and plans of the site’s drainage system.

Flamingo Flowers was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay Agency costs of £4,337.

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