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Welsh water company fined for polluting river

October 2, 2007 at 11:36 am

A Welsh water treatment plant has been charged and fined with polluting a nearby river and killing hundreds of fish, and not for the first time. Over 1,800 fish, mostly trout, were killed in July 2007 when the company Dwr Cymru Welsh Water was responsible for sewage contaminating a nearby river tributary at the River Cynon. The Environment Agency were called at the time and the company were forced to bring in independent contractors to oversee the blocking of the flow and the return of the river to safety standards for wildlife.

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water pleaded guilty in court for the contamination of the river with raw sewage and they claimed it was due to a technical problem in the plant. They were fined £10,000 as well as having to pay £4,420 for further prosecution costs. Section Four of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 and Section 85 of the Water Resources Act 1991 were broken.

The Environment Agency Officer spear-heading the case Mr Joseph Barr commented by saying “This incident caused significant damage to fish populations of the Nant-Y-Wennalt Stream and part of the costs awarded will be used to restock it. It is also hoped that this successful prosecution will lead to improvements being made to prevent any further incidents of this nature.”

However, such incidents are commonplace in Welsh rivers. In July this year, the same water company was fined £5,000 for pollution a river near Wrexham. In September 2003, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water again were fined £12,500 for polluting the River Clyne and killing over 3000 fish. There was a similar incident in 2005, where no action was taken, and again the same company in February 2007 were fined for polluting the River Ewenny with milk and milk washings, costing the lives of hundreds of fish and insects in the river.

There have been numerous other similar incidences all over the UK. It might not carry as much weight as something like Foot and Mouth disease but it’s clearly a problem that isn’t being dealt with properly and requires extra attention.

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