Severn Trent Water fined £1.5 million for sewage discharges

Environment Agency successfully prosecutes Severn Trent Water for sewage discharges.

  • Severn Trent Water fined £1.5 million for illegal sewage discharges
  • Approx 360,000 litres of sewage discharged into one brook

Severn Trent Water Limited has been fined £1.5 million for sewage discharges from 4 sewage treatment works in Worcestershire between February and August 2018. The water company has also been ordered to pay prosecution costs of £58, 365.

The court heard how the company failed to respond to alarms warning of a blockage, failed to adequately manage sewage sludge, and failed to adequately manage a situation when a piece of equipment failed. Resulting in sewage being discharged into a number of watercourses in Worcestershire.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Counsel Mr James Puzey told the court that in February 2018, Severn Trent Water failed to respond promptly to alarms at its sewage treatment works at Blackminster, near Evesham.  A blockage to the works resulted in approximately 360,000 litres of sewage being illegally discharged to the nearby Broadway Brook.  It was hours before Severn Trent Water operatives attended to take remedial action.

The court also heard how over the winter of 2017/2018, Severn Trent Water failed to adequately manage treatment of sewage sludge at other treatment works in Worcestershire.

This caused sludge to build up within the sewage treatment system. At the company’s sewage treatment works at Bromsgrove and Stoke Prior, problems with the sewage treatment process led to discharges into the Sugar Brook and Hen Brook exceeding the permitted levels of BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) in early March 2018.

Severn Trent Water also had problems at its Priest Bridge works near Redditch in July and August 2018, when a piece of equipment designed to remove fibrous material from incoming sewage at the start of the process failed. The company did not adequately manage the situation, which resulted in discharges from the site in breach of limits set for ammoniacal nitrogen over a 2-day period in early August 2018.  A similar incident had occurred in 2011.

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