£10k fine for vegetable oil pollution

6th June 2011


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  • Pollution & Waste Management

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IEMA

A Norfolk firm treating waste edible oils has been fined £10,000 after poor management resulted in the pollution of a ditch connected to local waterways.

DJ Taylor (Anglian Oils), which treats household, commercial and industrial waste, admitted allowing vegetable oil to enter the drainage system at its site in August 2010.

The incident followed an Environment Agency (EA) audit in March 2008 that warned the firm it was not using pollution prevention equipment properly.

Claire Bentley, prosecuting for the EA, said: “The pollution appears to have been a consequence of poor site management.

“The defendant admitted that staff were not trained to an appropriate level which led them to disposing of oil contaminated water to surface water drains on site.”

An interceptor in a drain at the site was being relied on to capture oil, despite the 2008 audit advising that such equipment should only be used as a precautionary system for low-risk uncontaminated drainage.

The firm was also told the detergents they used to clean vehicles emulsified the oil, stopping the interceptor from working at all.

Company director and manager Ashley Taylor, admitted the company had not understood how an interceptor worked and had, in response to the 2008 audit, changed to a biodegradable detergent which they thought was more environmentally friendly.

“This case demonstrates how important it is for businesses to fully understand the drainage infrastructure they have on site and to communicate that understanding to their staff,” said EA officer Anna Pearce.

“This incident could have been avoided had the company improved the management of their site when issues were pointed out to them in 2008.”

The firm pleaded guilty to breaching the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and was ordered to pay costs of £4,427 on top of the £10,000 fine.

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