Page last updated at 19:30 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 20:30 UK

Water company fined over sewage

South West Water has been fined £10,000 after discharging poor quality sewage from a treatment works in Cornwall.

The firm is allowed to release treated sewage but on 14 April the effluent failed to meet quality standards, Barnstaple magistrates heard.

During the case, brought by the Environment Agency, the court heard the firm had breached the same effluent quality regulations in November.

In addition to the fine, the firm was ordered to pay £785 court costs.

'Prompt action'

A spokesperson for the utility company said: "South West Water has always accepted responsibility for a temporary drop in final effluent quality from Bude sewage treatment works on 14 April 2009, and reported the issue to the Environment Agency as soon as possible.

"Prompt action by our staff stopped the discharge within 30 minutes of the problem being identified.

"The final effluent is discharged via an Environment Agency consented long sea outfall and is subject to high dilution and dispersion in the receiving waters some 1.3km offshore, reducing any potential environmental impact.

"We have recently invested over £180,000 at the site to reduce the risk of this happening in future."

An Environment Agency spokesman added: "While I'm disappointed the asset did not operate as it should have done, I am encouraged by the openness displayed by South West Water in reporting the failure.

"I am pleased the company has corrected the fault and reduced the risk of a similar incident in the future."

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