South West Water fined over Devon effluent discharges

South West Water (SWW) has been ordered to pay nearly £9,000 in fines and costs for discharging poorly treated effluent from a sewage treatment works in Devon.

The Environment Agency discovered the effluent from the works at Tedburn St Mary, near Exeter, three times within 12 months in the Lilly Brook.

SWW admitted committing three offences under environmental permitting regulations.

It was fined £7,000, and ordered to pay £1,719 costs.

After discovering the effluent in the tributary of the River Culvery, the agency discovered the treatment works had exceeded set biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) limits.

BOD is the amount of oxygen required by bacteria to decompose the organic matter in a sample of polluted water.

It is used as a measure of the degree of water pollution.

It meant the site was non-compliant as, under the terms of the permit, it was only allowed to break BOD limits twice, the agency said.

SWW blamed the failure on a blockage at the inlet of the sewage works.

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