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Anglian Water pays out £95k for pollution that killed 1,500 spawning fish

18:04 27 June 2014

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A water company must pay nearly £95,000 after a “catastrophic” sewage leak contaminated a Brentwood brook killing more than 1,500 fish.

Failures at all three Anglian Water pumps at Ingrave Pumping Station, in Middle Road, Ingrave, led to sewage leaving an emergency overflow pipe and polluting more than 4km of Haverings Grove Brook, near Bladens Wood, in April 2011.

The incident is likely to have a significant impact on fish reproduction since many species, such as minnow, stickleback and chub, were spawning at the time.

Anglian Water entered late guilty pleas to breaching two conditions of their environmental permits at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last week.

The firm was fined £50,000 and was ordered to pay the Environment Agency costs of nearly £45,000.

Speaking after the case, Environment Agency officer Peter Cooke said: “This pollution was reported to us by a member of the local community who found the brook grossly polluted with sewage.

“It had a catastrophic impact on fish and was distressing for residents who value the brook for its diverse wildlife.

“After the incident, Environment Agency officers were faced with the unpleasant task of removing more than 1,500 dead fish from the brook, including a significant number of bullhead – a Biodiversity Action Plan species and important food fish for kingfishers and herons.”

At the time of the incident, there were three pumps at Ingrave Pumping Station.

One a day stopped working over three days but no alarms were activated. At one point, this left the pumping station with no operational pumps for 12 hours.

Ms Sarah Le Fevre, defending, said Anglian Water deeply regretted the incident and took some comfort from the scale of the company’s operation with their telemetry system representing one of the largest in Western Europe.

The company was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15..

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