Southern Water fined for Hurstpierpoint sewage leak

Southern Water Services has been fined £5,000 for a sewage leak into the River Adur from its West Sussex pumping station in Hurstpierpoint.

The company, of Yeoman Road in Worthing, pleaded guilty to the offence at Brighton Magistrates' Court and also had to pay costs of £2,202.

In April 2010, Southern Water told the Environment Agency the leak had been triggered by heavy rainfall.

The company later admitted it was due to the site not operating properly.

No rainfall

Investigations by the Environment Agency found there had been no rainfall in the area since 4 April 2010, three days earlier than the incident was reported.

In June, Southern Water said the sewage leak was in fact due to the site not operating properly rather than heavy rainfall.

Michael Turner of the Environment Agency said: "This pollution incident could have been prevented with effective maintenance of the pumping station."

Southern Water has apologised for the incident and said measures have since been put in place to avoid similar events in future.

The Environment Agency said pumping stations were allowed to release some sewage into watercourses under strict conditions at times of heavy rainfall.

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