England

Anglian Water fined £35,000 for pollution in Essex

Anglian Water has been fined £35,000 after hundreds of fish died when sewage poured from its treatment works into a river in Essex.

The incident affected 2km (1.2 miles) of the River Wid at Doddinghurst, near Brentwood, in September 2009, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.

Anglian Water pleaded guilty to discharging sewage into the river contrary to the Water Resources Act.

As well as the fine Anglian Water was ordered to pay £7,234 in court costs.

The court heard the pollution was caused by a power failure at the plant which meant sewage was directly pumped into the river for three hours.

'Low oxygen levels'

After the hearing Environment Agency officer Tim Poulding said: "A catalogue of errors led to this pollution seriously affecting wildlife on the upper stretches of the River Wid.

"A large number of fish were killed and an aerator had to be used further downstream to compensate for low oxygen levels."

A spokesman for the water firm said: "Anglian Water takes its responsibilities to the natural environment very seriously.

"We deeply regret this accidental discharge of sewage and the harm to the River Wid and its wildlife.

"We would like to stress this was in no way the result of a failure in Anglian Water's systems or procedures, but rather the consequence of human error.

"Disciplinary action has been taken against a member of staff as a result."

The spokesman added that Anglian Water had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and had provided the Environment Agency with extensive documentation to assist in its investigation.

"We are constantly working to review and improve our performance so incidents like this can be prevented," he said.

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