North East Wales

Welsh Water fined £35k for sewage spill 'negligence'

Looking across the sea wall towards Kinmel Bay Image copyright Jeff Buck
Image caption Welsh Water had been recommended to act in 2010, magistrates heard, before the spills at Kinmel Bay

Three sewage spills from a pipeline Welsh Water knew had defects led to warning signs on a beach and closed footpaths, Llandudno magistrates heard.

Up to 25 million litres (5.5m gallons) of sewage spilled from bursts in a pipeline at Kinmel Bay, Conwy, in February and July 2013.

The firm was fined £35,000 after admitting the discharges but said it was "disappointed" at the prosecution.

Magistrates said they felt the company had been "negligent".

The court heard that a manufacturing firm had been affected by one of the spills.

The prosecution was brought by Natural Resources Wales.

Dafydd Roberts, prosecuting, said Welsh Water had failed to act as recommended after a problem back in 2010.

Richard Kimblin, defending, said the material from which the pipeline was made had proved unsatisfactory since being installed in the 1990s.

There was no evidence of harm from the spills, he said, and the company was spending £4.5m replacing the pipeline, bringing forward work due to be completed by the end of 2014.

After the case, Steve Wilson, Welsh Water's director of waste water services said the firm could not understand how the public interest was served by the prosecution.

The utility had almost completed the project to replace nearly 5km (3 miles) of rising sewer main in the area, brought forward following bursts in recent years, he said.

Welsh Water was also told to pay £3,363 costs.

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