Severn Trent fined for sewer delay

Severn Trent Water has been fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,207 after it failed to clear a blocked sewer which caused pollution of a Nottinghamshire brook. The company pleaded guilty to causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters contrary to section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 before Mansfield magistrates on 7 July.

The court heard that the company received a call from a member of the public about sewage overflowing in Rainworth on 1 April 2003. Although it was clear that the discharge was polluting a watercourse, the company failed to attend until 3 April when the problem had become much more severe.

Samples taken by the Environment Agency showed that the dissolved oxygen content of the water had been almost halved.

Fining the company, the magistrates highlighted the company's delay in responding to the incident as an aggravating factor. The company promised to respond immediately in future.

It was the company's third pollution offence this year. In February, it was fined £15,000 after breaching a discharge consent at a water treatment works (ENDS Report 362, p 61 ). In January it was fined £6,500 after a leaking sewer killed 500 fish (ENDS Report 361, p 61 ).

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