Water pollution costs director £5,000

Company director Gareth Davies of Llancayo Farm, Usk was fined £4,000 with £1,000 costs by Blackwood magistrates on 25 July after his company twice polluted a Monmouthshire stream with suspended solids.

The court heard that Usk Valley Environmental Services (UVES) was recovering coal from the disused Penallta colliery site prior to its redevelopment for housing. Wastewater from the process was directed to the colliery's old settlement lagoon system before discharge to the Nant Cylla stream.

Environment Agency staff had visited the site on several occasions and highlighted the inadequacy of the lagoons and their poor maintenance as a pollution risk. Despite these and other warnings, the company failed to implement the Agency's advice. In March 2004, the lagoons overflowed following heavy rain and contaminated the watercourse.

In July, bunding around the lagoons was breached by a plant driver, again allowing suspended solids to enter the stream.

Mr Davies was prosecuted under Section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 for causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters. UVES has since gone into administration and ceased operations on the site.