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Anglian Water fined £20,000 over sewage spill into Norfolk broad

17:39 08 March 2013

ormesby little broad

ormesby little broad

Archant

Anglian Water has been fined £20,000 after sewage spilled into a Norfolk beauty spot.

Sewage spilled from a pumping station at Filby, near Great Yarmouth, and into the Ormesby Little Broad last February.

The freshwater site, popular with boaters and tourists, is 2km from Ormesby Broad – where Essex and Suffolk Water draw some of the region’s drinking water from.

Neither the drinking water nor local wildlife were affected by the spill, but Environment Agency (EA) prosecutors today told Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court that Anglian Water could and should have taken measures to prevent the overflow.

“There’s a history of this pumping station overflowing,” said EA prosecutor Claire Corfield.

“Between September 2006 and March 2011 there were five cases of sewage spilling onto the car park of the adjoining Filby Bridge Restaurant.”

However, Sarah Le Fevre, defending Anglian Water said it was “utterly unforeseeable”.

It is believed the spill occurred after contractors carrying out maintenance at the station severed an alarm which warns of overflow – something that had “simply never happened before”, according to Anglian.

The water firm pleaded guilty to a charge of causing sewage and trade effluent to enter inland freshwater.

In a statement released after the case, a spokesman for Anglian Water said: “Anglian Water deeply regrets this accidental discharge of sewage into Ormesby Little Broad.

“This accident is particularly upsetting as the Broads are an important part of what makes the region we serve such a fantastic place to live and work.

“Thankfully, the environmental impact was small thanks to the very cold weather, the diluting effect of the Broad itself and the fact that much of the sewage was trapped in gravel as it flowed across a carpark.

“We take our responsibilities to the natural environment very seriously and have worked for many years to help improve the Broads for people and wildlife.

“This incident occurred when the pumps failed at our sewage pumping station in Filby. Normally, a warning system alerts us when the level of sewage in the site’s well begins to rise and we can respond accordingly. Unfortunately, this warning system had been damaged. This meant there was no alarm and the seriousness of the problem was not immediately known.”

The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £2,896 in legal costs.

Filby pumping station has since had new pumps and monitoring equipment installed to help prevent any problems and a bund wall has been built to contain any future spill.

3 comments

  • What a piffling amount £20,000 is for what this company has done, they should haver been well and truly hammered. But on second thoughts maybe not as we will be the suckers who foot the bill at the end of the day.

    Report this comment

    Twig Stevens

    Friday, March 8, 2013

  • Given the situation of the village in a low lying area there should now be a stop put on any further development unless houses have room for septic tanks rather than using the current disposal system. The pumping station is too close to the broad to risk spillage caused by over burdening the mains system. Filby has in any case been allowed rather more infill building than might to be expected for a village ranged along an A road, which can never be bypassed because of the geography, and is subject to a 30mph limit.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, March 9, 2013

  • They reduced the number of field staff to boost profits 2-3 years ago, and at the time much of the 'up keep work' went out of the window, only having time to attend to emergency calls half the time.

    Report this comment

    WTH

    Friday, March 8, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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