Construction company fined for water pollution

20th February 2017


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  • Business & Industry ,
  • Built environment ,
  • Construction ,
  • Water ,
  • Natural resources

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IEMA

Discharging silt-laden water into a Sussex river has cost Interserve Construction almost £60,000.

The firm had been contracted by South East Water to improve management of water treatment at its Crowhurst Bridge works.

However, on 1 October 2014 the Environment Agency discovered a brown discharge downstream of the site after a member of the public reported seeing discoloured water. Further investigations by the regulator found local damage to the watercourse, a tributary of the River Rother in Burwash, East Sussex.

Giving evidence at Lewes Crown Court, the agency told the judge that this was an isolated incident, lasting just 25 minutes, and the overall performance of Interserve Construction was ‘good’ throughout its 18-month contract with South East Water. The agency said there was no evidence that local wildlife was adversely affected by the discharge.

David Willis, environment manager at the agency, said: ‘We take these incidents very seriously and do everything within our powers to safeguard the environment and people that may be affected.’

Interserve was fined £54,000, with costs of £5,955.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘We deeply regret that this unfortunate incident took place and fully accept the ruling.

‘This was an isolated incident, which was rectified quickly once it was identified, with no evidence that local wildlife was adversely affected. However, we have reviewed our processes thoroughly since the event to ensure that this type of incident does not happen again.’

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