First water company prosecution over "red list" discharge

Last year's controversy over a discharge of the pesticide pentachlorophenol (PCP) from a textile finishing works in Lancashire (ENDS Reports 197, pp 5-6, and 198, pp 8-9) has culminated in a successful prosecution of North West Water, which received effluent from the plant, by the National Rivers Authority (NRA). The verdict is likely to make water companies take a tougher attitude to accepting "red list" substances such as PCP into their sewers even if they are authorised by HM Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP).

The charge brought against North West Water at a hearing before Darwen magistrates on 29 January was that a discharge from its Belmont sewage works last May contained close to 60µg/l of PCP, almost ten times the limit of 6µg/l set in its consent.

In its defence, the water company pleaded that it had been constrained in controlling discharges of the chemical by a trade effluent agreement with the textile company, Belmont Bleach

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