Anglian Water has been fined £50,000 after a Peterborough sewer collapsed, leading to the death of fish.
Anglian Water’s Alliance Partner, Danaher & Walsh (Civil Engineering) Ltd, were fined £10,000 as a result of the same incident.
The firms appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court last week.
A spokesperson for Anglian Water said: “In December 2018, a partially collapsed sewer at Stanground was being overpumped using three industrial pumps. On the night of 6 January 2019, the pumps became blocked by unflushables. Sewage backed up and spilt into a roadside ditch which then connected through underground pipework to the Stanground Lode. Within minutes of being alerted to the issue, a Danaher & Walsh member of staff and a pump engineer from the supplier arrived on site and resolved the problem with the pumps.
“The next day pollution was observed further downstream of the overpumps in the Riverside Mead Marina. Anglian Water dammed the roadside ditch and used tankers to remove the affected water. Unfortunately some small fish were killed in Riverside Mead Marina however, because of the prompt actions of our team, the water quickly returned to normal.
“During the sentencing, District Judge Ken Sheraton found that the offence was committed with little or no fault on the part of Anglian Water or Danaher & Walsh and that proper procedures were in place to maintain the overpumps during the work. Unfortunately, a significant amount of plastics and wet wipes stopped the pumps from working only hours after they has been thoroughly checked.
“Unflushables items like wet wipes, sanitary items and cotton buds cause significant problems in our sewer network when they are wrongly disposed of down the drain. They lead to blockages and in the worst cases, pollutions to the environment like this. We clear over 40,000 blockages a year and is why we’ve raised awareness of the issue through our Keep it Clear campaign for over a decade.
“However, we understand our responsibilities to protect the environment, and know there’s no room for complacency, we’re absolutely determined to improve further and progress towards achieving our zero pollutions goal.”
Anglian Water ordered to pay costs of £24,387. Danaher was ordered to pay costs of £5,000.