South West Water fined for sub-standard effluent

South West Water has been fined £6,000 after repeatedly discharging sub-standard effluent into a tributary of the River Yealm, south Devon.

Appearing before Plymouth magistrates on 13 January, the company pleaded guilty to breaching conditions of its discharge consent at its Lee Mill sewage works near Ivybridge, contrary to section 85(6) of the Water Resources Act 1991. It was fined £6,000 with £730 costs.

Between May 2003 and May 2004, the Environment Agency sampled the works' effluent 12 times. It failed its discharge consent for biochemical oxygen demand and suspended solids on seven occasions.

The company was fined £4,000 last April for similar failures at the works (ENDS Report 351, p 59 ). It has since installed a new drum filter - but this was not enough to ensure compliance.

Speaking after the case, Agency officer Jon Snowden said the works needs "a thorough overhaul".

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