Polluters Pay

Environment Agency News Release

On 7 September 2007, Goodmans Slaughterers Ltd of Warwick Road, Ettington, Warwickshire, were found guilty at Rugby Magistrates Court to two charges relating to polluting Springfield brook, a tributary of the River Dene.

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under the Water Resources Act 1991. Goodmans Slaughterers Ltd were fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

For the Environment Agency, Dermot Scully told the court that on 24 June 2006, the Environment Agency received a report that the bed of the Springfield brook watercourse that runs past Goodmans Slaughters in Ettington, Warwickshire had turned black about a week previously.

Environment Agency officers attended the Goodmans site and took samples of the water at several points on the brook. The samples showed that discharges from Goodmans had a significant impact on water quality with raised ammonia levels.

During a follow up visit by Environment Agency officers on 26 June 2006, the area to the back of the building was waterlogged with pools of foamy liquid on the ground leading towards the stream. The stream itself was black in colour with a strong odour present and flies in the area. Soil samples also showed there was blood and animal hair present.

On 9 August 2006, Environment Agency officers interviewed Thomas Goodman of Goodman Slaughters where he explained that the waste water on the site was from washing down the yard and washing out the lorries which goes into an underground tank. Mr Goodman believed that heavy rainfall had caused the tank to overflow resulting in polluted matter entering the watercourse.

Following the Environment Agency visit, the watercourse was dredged on 27 June 2006 and flushed out with several thousand gallons of water from a lake. An alarm system has also been fitted to the tank since the visit which will sound when the tank is three quarters full.

Speaking after the case, Gill May, an Environment Agency officer involved in the investigation said: “This was a serious incident. Organic matter, such as yard washings can seriously effect water quality by depleting oxygen levels and causing high levels of ammonia, which is toxic to aquatic life. Goodmans have put precautionary measures in place to ensure that this does not happen again.”

“If members of the public believe that pollutants may have entered a watercourse, they are asked to contact the Environment Agency as soon as possible on 0800 807060.”