From Environment Agency

Sewage discharge equivalent of 2 Olympic sized swimming pools lasting 23 hours killed.

Anglian Water has been fined more than half a million pounds. They failed to stop raw sewage being discharged into a river for 23 hours, killing 5,000 fish.

Around 6 million litres of raw sewage, the equivalent of more than 2 Olympic swimming pools, was discharged into the River Great Ouse at Brackley, Northamptonshire. It killed thousands of fish and spread 12 kilometres down the River Great Ouse.

The discharge, from the emergency overflow at the pumping station, started just before 6pm on 24 May in 2017. It was not stopped until around 5pm the next day, 23 hours later.

Electrical faults caused the pumps to stop. Then a failure of the early warning alarm system, put in place to alert Anglian Water staff of an issue, meant the discharge went unnoticed.

The pollution was found to have stretched 12 kilometres down river. Fish including brown trout, chub and pike were killed, as well as smaller species such as bullhead, dace, stone loach, minnow, gudgeon and 79 brook lampreys. Dead signal crayfish were also observed.

Anglian Water pleaded guilty to a breach of permit. They were ordered to pay a fine of £510,000, costs of £50,000 and a victim surcharge of £170 at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court (12 January 2023).

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