Record fine for canal sewage spill

GRAND UNION

Canal Boat - - News -

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”.

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