Record fine for canal sewage spill
THAMES WATER HAS been fined a record £1-million after allowing improperly treated sewage to enter the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal.
The company is licensed to discharge treated effluent from its canalside works near Tring into the Arm – which in turn feeds into the southern Grand Union main line. Due to faulty screens, however, sewage that hadn’t been properly treated entered the Arm on nine occasions from July 2012 to April 2013, affecting both plants and fish. Following complaints from the public and the Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency took Thames Water to court where it pleaded guilty to breaching regulations.
Judge Andrew Bright QC described the problems as “entirely foreseeable” and imposed the £1-million fine on Thames Water. The company said it “very much regretted” the incident and has taken precautions to prevent a recurrence, including replacing the screens.
The EA said it “welcomed” the decision and would do “everything within our powers to safeguard the environment and people affected”.