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Yorkshire Water fined over sewage leak

Yorkshire Water has been fined £233,000 after it admitted to being responsible for a sewage leak that led to the deaths of hundreds of fish in Tong Beck. 

The successful prosecution was brought by the Environment Agency following a pollution incident in 2017. 

During the incident, an estimated 20 million liters of raw sewage was discharged into Tong Beck over a four-day period following the failure of a valve at Yorkshire Water’s Dale Road sewage pumping station. 

An investigation into the impact of the pollution by the Environment Agency found that it has caused significant damage to the ecology of the beck and led to the death of hundreds of trout downstream of the pumping station. 

This prosecution follows the launch of a major investigation by the Environment Agency and Ofwat into sewage treatment works. 

However, a leaked report published last week revealed that the Environment Agency no longer has resources for inquiries into many incidents, despite potential threats to ecosystems 

white and brown duck on water

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: ‘All businesses, including water companies, have a responsibility to ensure their activities do not present a risk of harm to people and the environment. Yorkshire Water’s failure to adequately safeguard its systems has led to significant damage to the ecology of Tong Beck, which may take many years to recover. We welcome the ruling by Magistrates in Leeds today and hope that this sends a strong message to others that the Environment Agency will hold polluters to account.’

In mitigation, Yorkshire Water expressed remorse. They said they acted quickly once they became aware of the discharge. They commissioned their own sampling and analysis, monitored the watercourse over the following days, undertook a full clean-up of the site and immediate area, and undertook repairs to ensure the pumping station was brought quickly back into operation.

 

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