Water Industry News

Thames Water Fined £2.3 Million For Sewage Pollution

Thames Water has been fined £2.3 million following failures to address faulty equipment at a sewage treatment plant, which resulted in a stream being polluted with sewage, killing 1,144 fish and other water life.


An investigation by the Environment Agency found that ammonia levels in Fawley Court Ditch were double the permitted limits, with the stream losing nearly all its fish to the pollution and taking nearly a year to recover. Fish from 13 species perished, including pike, tench, perch, roach, dace, gudgeon and chub.


Aylesbury Crown Court heard how the treatment works at Henley didn’t have any monitoring in place to manage pollution risks, a situation that was exacerbated by the fact that staff didn’t respond to alarms revealing issues in the process.


These faults included problems with the machines that aerate effluent and reduce ammonia totals, while the probes measuring the standard of the treatment process also weren’t working. And it was found that oxygen at the plant, which helps control the treatment, was dangerously low 24 hours before the incident.


The water supplier pleaded guilty to a single count of causing a discharge of partially treated effluent into Fawley court Ditch and Fawley Court Stream without a permit between April 21st and 24th 2016. It was fined £2.3 million and ordered to pay the Environment Agency’s costs of £87,944.


Land and water officer for the Agency Jackie Outhwaite said: “Thames Water could and should have prevented this pollution through better management of sewage-treatment.

Our investigation found the risk of pollution was increased by a lack of measures in place to prevent it. Thames Water’s failure to respond to warning alarms ultimately led to significant harm to water quality.


“The Environment Agency’s enforcement action over several years and the pressure it has put on water companies has led to £30 billion of investment by the industry in water quality. The damage caused to the environment at Henley, however, shows water companies have a lot more to do to protect the environment.”


Of course, it’s not just pollution that threatens the nation’s waterways and water resources are being put under increasing pressure from the likes of climate change, water mismanagement, urbanisation, population growth, leakage rates and so on.


As a business, there’s a lot you can do to protect this precious resource of ours and safeguard it for future generations – and a good first step to take is to look into bill validation.


This will reveal any spikes in usage, which could be an indication of a leak onsite, allowing you to bring in the relevant water-saving solutions and carry out necessary repairs, saving water and saving you money. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with the team here at Switch Water Supplier today.