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Wessex Water fined for polluting Hampshire Avon

 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject: Wessex Water fined for polluting Hampshire Avon Reply with quote

Author: Paul Gainey

Date published: 9-Jan-2007

Wessex Water was today ordered to pay £4,966 in fines and costs after a sewer storm overflow in Salisbury polluted the Hampshire Avon which is known as an important salmon spawning area. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

On August 1, 2006, a member of the public called the Environment Agency to say he noticed sewage in the river in the location of a culvert known as the Bugmore Drain, adjacent to Southampton Road, Salisbury.

An Agency officer attended and noticed a strong smell of sewage and a grey discharge coming from the drain, causing a visible impact in the river for some distance downstream. A water sample was taken away for analysis and showed ‘significant contamination.’

Wessex Water investigated and found that a blockage in the foul sewer had caused a discharge of sewage from a storm sewer overflow at the junction of Scotts Lane and Endless Street. The overflow was made to a culverted surface water sewer that eventually discharges to the River Avon at the Bugmore Drain.

Magistrates heard that Wessex Water deployed two tankers to minimise the impact on the Hampshire Avon. One was pumping from the foul sewer upstream of the overflow to minimise the discharge volume and the other was at Bugmore Drain. Despite this there was still a visible and measurable impact on the watercourse, which is designated as a Special Area of Conservation under the Habitats Directive.

During interview, Wessex Water stated that the cause of the blockage had been a build up of silt in the sewer.

This was the second incident from this sewer storm overflow in three months, and for the first offence Wessex Water received a warning.

Wessex Water have since installed telemetry on this overflow.

‘These offences could easily have been prevented. Water companies must ensure they carry out regular inspections of sewer storm overflows, especially when it is known that there have been problems there in the past,’ said Emma Tattersall for the Environment Agency.

Wessex Water, of Claverton Down, Bath, was today fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £966 costs by Salisbury magistrates after pleading guilty to one offence under Sections 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 of causing sewage to enter controlled waters.
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