NRA takes relaxed approach to sewage offence

South West Water has been prosecuted successfully by the National Rivers Authority (NRA) for breaching a consent limit for ammonia continuously over 12 months at one of its sewage works. The case shows that the NRA is not using its full powers to prosecute sewerage undertakers for persistent pollution offences.

Last year, the NRA pressed the Department of the Environment successfully to agree that discharge consents for all sewage treatment works should include absolute upper limits which must be complied with at all times, as well as "lower-tier" limits which only have to by met by 95% of samples over a rolling 12-month period (ENDS Report 200, pp 31-32). But this month's prosecution suggests that, even where absolute limits are specified, the NRA m

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