Aggregates firm fined over silt pollution

An aggregates firm has been fined £2,000 after polluting a river with sand causing it to have a suspended solid level 1,200 times above normal.

Appearing before Swaffham magistrates on 12 May, Middleton Aggregates pleaded not guilty to causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters contrary to section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991. The court found against the company and ordered it to pay £4,989 costs on top of the fine.

On 28 March last year, Environment Agency officers routinely testing the River Nar in Norfolk found the river to contain suspended solid levels of 347mg/l - more than 20 times the normal 15mg/l.

The officers noticed County Drain, a tributary of the river Nar that enters it near Wormegay, was the source of the pollution. The drain was turbid and yellow.

The pollution was traced back two kilometres, along another tributary, to a quarry owned by Middleton Aggregates. The officers found that the quarry contained a sump, from which water was pumped over the quarry into the river.

Samples taken from the tributary found it to have a suspended solids of 60,900mg/l.

The River Nar is an important fishery, and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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