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 Water company fined for sewage spills at Devon holiday resort

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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Water company fined for sewage spills at Devon holiday resort   Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:58 pm

Southwest water, Again Evil or Very Mad 


25-Nov-2013

South West Water has been ordered to pay £60,300 in fines and costs for polluting two beaches at Salcombe in South Devon. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.


Sewage spills occurred in August 2012 during the Salcombe annual regatta. On August 6 the Agency responded to reports of pollution at South Sands. It found sewage leaking from a corroded inspection hatch and flowing down the beach.

South Hams District Council responded to the pollution by erecting a sign at the entrance to the beach advising people not to bathe at South Sands. South West Water contractors traced the cause of the spill to a blockage in the main sewer. Sand had entered the pipeline and the build up in pressure caused the hatch to fail.

When an Agency officer returned on the Monday (August 13) sewage was still discharging onto the beach and a second leak was discovered in the same pipe.

In a separate incident, first brought to South West Water’s attention on July 21, 2012, sewage was seen escaping from a pipe at Chapel End, Salcombe and polluting a nearby beach. The problem was caused by a cracked pipe that was repaired by South West Water on August 23, but not before further sewage spills had occurred.

A sample of the discharge taken from a polluted rock pool at South Sands on August 13 was found to contain 9 million faecal coliform bacteria compared to the maximum permitted limit of 2,000.

‘South West Water was aware of problems with its sewer pipework at Salcombe, but did not respond quickly enough to stop these sewage spills that occurred at the height of the holiday season,’ said Pete Ball for the Environment Agency.

Appearing before Torquay magistrates, South West Water Company of Peninsula House, Rydon Lane, Exeter was fined a total of £50,000 and ordered to pay £10,300 costs after pleading guilty to two offences of illegally discharging sewage to the Salcombe estuary. The case was heard on November 13.

It is the second time South West Water has been prosecuted for pollution offences at Salcombe. In June 2012 the company was ordered to pay £32,967 in fines and costs after raw sewage escaped from the town’s public sewer and surface water drainage system polluting the harbour and foreshore.
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