Yorkshire Water fined £6,000 for pollution

Environment Agency News Release

Yorkshire Water has been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £1,119.74 costs after it admitted breaching its consent to discharge treated sewage into a North Yorkshire river.

Yorkshire Water Services Ltd, of Western House, Halifax Road, Bradford appeared before Selby magistrates yesterday (10/5) in a case brought by the Environment Agency.

It admitted one charge of breaching its consent to discharge from Hemingbrough Sewage Treatment Works at Lands Lane, Hemingbrough into the River Ouse.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Trevor Cooper said that Environment Agency officers routinely test the discharge from the sewage works to make sure that the effluent meets the conditions of their consent permits.

He told the court that samples were taken in 2005 and 2006 that showed Yorkshire Water had exceeded the limit of suspended solids on three occasions in 12 months.

Under the conditions in the consent, the maximum amount of suspended solids permitted in the discharge is 150 milligrammes per litre. The company is allowed to breach this consent no more than twice in one year, but Mr Cooper said Yorkshire Water had exceeded this limit on one further occasion on August 23, 2006 when 477 milligrammes per litre were discharged. This caused the Environment Agency to bring the charge against the company.

In its defence Yorkshire Water said the primary pump had stopped because an emergency button had been pressed, possibly by a third party. They also said they had now installed telemetry, so they would be alerted to any future problems at an early stage.

After the court case, Environment Agency environment management team leader Peter Stevenson said: “Our rivers are a valuable part of our environment and good water quality is vital for the health of wildlife and their habitats. This court case shows that no business or person can afford to be careless with the environment.”