Southern Water fined £200,000 over sewage leak off Margate

 

Southern Water has been fined £200,000 after discharging raw sewage into the sea, the Environment Agency (EA) has said.

Defective pumps at Margate pumping station in Kent led to several discharges of untreated sewage between January and June last year.

The repeated failure of the pumps meant Southern Water was unable to pump the sewage to Weatherlees Works for treatment, and instead discharged it into the sea off Margate.

Canterbury Crown Court also heard that the firm, which serves Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, failed to tell the EA or the local food authority about the discharges.

Last month the company pleaded guilty to breaching its strict environmental permit and causing avoidable releases of untreated sewage to enter the sea, the EA said.

Following sentencing, Andy Stamp, the EA's environment officer, said: "We would rather work with companies to assist them to comply with their environmental permits and minimise the risk to the environment.

"When, however, this does not happen there should be consequences.

"We take these types of incidents very seriously and will do everything within our powers to safeguard the environment and people affected, and that includes bringing those who harm the environment to account for their actions."

Southern Water "unreservedly apologised" and said it had spent £1.7 million addressing "complex engineering issues" at the pumping station which caused the problems.

Another £400,000 is earmarked and plans for another pumping station are being drawn up, the firm added. It said it has supported the local tourist industry with a series of promotional projects.

Southern Water director Geoff Loader said that, although the company had failed to operate within its environmental permit, Margate beaches had continued to meet European quality standards.

He said: "Importantly, the majority of beaches in the Margate area continue to have water quality sufficient to meet the Blue Flag standards and all meet European standards.

"Therefore, although we have breached our permit, we have not caused any deterioration in the water quality of Margate's beaches and, overall, our current treatment system has delivered improvements leading to Blue Flag water quality.

"However, failures with our plant are not acceptable.

"We fully understand the importance of water quality to the reputation of Thanet as a leading tourist resort in the UK and we will always work to protect and enhance that."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive / Marketing Research Executive

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is the UK's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager / Section Manager - Airport Security

£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a critical role within the secur...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45-55k

£20000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is an established, ...

Recruitment Genius: E-Commerce Manager - Fashion Accessories

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn