Scottish Water fined £7,500 for pollution incident

8th August 2016

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  • Water ,
  • Natural resources ,
  • Ecosystems ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management


Emma McElwaine

Scottish Water has been fined £7,500 for polluting a reservoir and a river in Ayrshire after it failed to monitor a valve correctly when draining the reservoir.

The water company pleaded guilty to the offence, which took place in May 2015 when contractors were working on the reservoir. The incident occurred outside ‘normal’ working hours when the site was not being monitored.

The court was told that sediment-laden water containing a high level of suspended solids from the reservoir was discharged into the River Garnock. This was reported it to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) by members of the public.

John McCabe, reporting officer at Sepa, said: ‘If Scottish Water had been monitoring the reservoir out of hours when the incident occurred, then it is likely the pollution to these rivers could have been prevented.

‘Unfortunately as Scottish Water had not taken this precaution, we were informed by the public and had to request the valve draining the reservoir to be closed after these watercourses had already been polluted.’

When imposing the fine, Kilmarnock Sheriff Court took into account the fact that Scottish Water’s failure had been serious and damaged wildlife, but that the long-term impact was unknown.

A spokesperson for Scottish Water said the firm’s reservoir operating management system, which aims to reduce the risk of this sort of spill happening again, would be implemented in future when it or its contractors working were carrying out work at reservoirs.


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