Utility company pays £30,000 to charity after water at treatment works 'more contaminated' than it went in
PUBLISHED: 16:04 15 November 2017
Water came out of a Norfolk treatment centre more dirty than it went in, triggering enforcement action.
Chemical analysis of the sample from Caister Water Recycling Centre failed environmental standards and led to Anglian Water donating £30,000 to charity under an enforcement undertaking (EU) agreed with the Environment Agency.
The utility company recorded the sample as “excessively poor” and analysis showed that it was more contaminated than when it went into the treatment works.
The standard is for it to be at least 75pc cleaner after treatment, but the sample registered minus 43pc, in breach of regulations and the permit for the site.
As part of the undertaking, Anglian Water has donated £30,000 to Norfolk Rivers Trust to benefit the local environment and also paid the Environment Agency’s costs.
The Environment Agency said the breach had the potential to impact the environment.
However, it accepted the EU offer because the discharge from Caister is via a long pipe into the sea 1km from shore and dilution by the sea water mitigated any issues.
Peter Kellett, Environment Agency director said: “Enforcement undertakings allow those who commit offences to restore the environment and to take steps to prevent a recurrence.
“When appropriate, they allow a quicker resolution than a prosecution and help offenders who are prepared to take responsibility for their actions to put things right voluntarily working with their local communities”.
East Anglia enforcement team leader Lesley Robertson, said: “Enforcement undertakings encourage operators to make amends and in this case I am heartened to see £30,000 has been donated to the Trust, allowing them to carry out a variety of local projects.”
Since the offence in September 2015 the company has changed some procedures, installed new alarms and tested others, and taken extra routine samples.
The EU was accepted in June 2017 and completed in September.
An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “We take our role protecting the environment extremely seriously, and there was no evidence of any environmental impact as a result of the incident at Caister Water Recycling Centre.
“We support enforcement undertakings as a sensible, proportionate response that benefits local communities and the environment.
“Our donations to the local Rivers Trust will be used to further improve the local environment and educate local schools about the environmental problems caused by misconnected drains.”