Water firms pay for spills from blocked sewers

9th November 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Prosecution ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Water



Anglian Water and Thames Water have been forced to pay out more than £40,000 each, after blockages in poorly maintained foul sewers caused sewage to overflow into nearby watercourses

Magistrates in Chelmsford fined Anglian Water £36,000 and ordered the company to pay £6,000 in costs, after hearing that pollution caused by a blocked sewer near Thaxted in Essex spread for 3km of the River Chelmer and killed more than 400 fish.

The Environment Agency said the pollution could have been prevented if Anglian Water had included the sewer in its regular maintenance schedule. The incident in June 2011 occurred just a week after the sewer had been cleared of a similar blockage.

In a separate prosecution, Thames Water was ordered to pay £13,000 in penalties, on top of the £30,000 it had already spent on remediation efforts, after Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard that the firm’s failure to properly investigate the cause of a sewage leak in September 2010, resulted in a more serious discharge six months later.

According to the agency, a blocked foul sewer was to blame on both occasions for sewage overflowing into a Hampshire pond.

In March 2011, however, the water level of the pond was higher than previously, enabling the pollution to flow into the Bishopswood Stream, causing a “dramatic deterioration” in water quality and harming local invertebrate species.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Fifth of UK food firms unprepared for deforestation regulation

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Dr Julie Riggs issues a call to arms to tackle a modern-day human tragedy

15th March 2024

Read more

The UK’s new biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirements could create 15,000 hectares of woodlands, heath, grasslands, and wetlands and absorb 650,000 tonnes of carbon each year.

13th March 2024

Read more

Campaign group Wild Justice has accused the UK government of trying to relax pollution rules for housebuilders “through the backdoor”.

14th February 2024

Read more

Digital tracking, packaging data delays and new collections provide a waste focus for this edition’s environmental round-up by legislation expert Neil Howe

28th November 2023

Read more

Environmental crimes could result in prison sentences of up to 10 years and company fines of 5% of turnover under a proposed EU law agreed by the European parliament and council.

21st November 2023

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close