Aberdeen City Council will spend a total of £23,000 offering “bespoke asbestos training” to its frontline staff.The local authority was ordered to improve after an investigation last year found an asbestos incident at Bridge of Don Academy contravened health and safety law.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ordered the council to improve its level of training in the wake of its investigation.
A District Judge has described photographs of a water pollution incident in south Derry as “shocking.”Before the court was farmer Eric Scott Thom, from Quarry Road, Desertmartin, who was fined £750 and ordered to pay a £15 offender levy.Judge Oonagh Mullan told Scott that the incident should never have happened and he should have taken steps sooner to prevent “poisonous polluting matter” from entering the waterway.Magherafelt Magistrates Court heard that an inspection of the Grange waterway, part of
An appeal by Thames Water to pay a smaller fine and less compensation to victims of sewer flooding backfired last week, after an unimpressed appeal judge and two justices increased the amount the company must pay to its victims.
Thames Water was appealing against fines totalling £204,000 imposed in 2011 by the Bromley Magistrates Court, for letting raw sewage flood homes, gardens and a local stream in Wimborne Way and St James Avenue, South London, back in 2003. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.
Over a period of two months, from February to April 2003, raw sewage repeatedly escaped from the local sewer system into properties, a street and into St James’s Stream. The court found that Thames Water failed to take steps to bring the situation under control. The Court also heard that there had been previous sewage flooding affecting residents.
On Thursday his Honour Judge Leonard QC sitting with two justices at Southwark Crown Court, rejected Thames Water’s appeal, upheld the fines and increased the amount that the company must pay its victims – from £2,000 to £3,000 for a homeowner impacted by the sewage and from £250 to £1,000 to an allotment holder. The court also ordered Thames Water to pay the Environment Agency’s appeal costs of over £10,000.
This is the latest in a ten year litigation saga, during which Thames Water went to the High Court three times and the European Court of Justice once, to try to escape legal liability for the consequences of the escape of untreated sewage from their sewers into residential properties and over allotments. Apart from the fines and compensation totalling £208,015, Thames Water had to pay another £206,000 to cover the Environment Agency’s legal costs for their various unsuccessful legal proceedings. It is estimated that the 10-year case has cost Thames Water over £750,000 when its own legal costs are included.
Angus Innes of the Environment Agency’s Prosecutions Team said: “It could reasonably be suggested that the money spent on this litigation could have been better applied to replacing and augmenting the sewer system in this area to protect the residents from further sewer flooding.”
The Environment Agency is currently investigating another incidence of sewer flooding affecting the same residents, which occurred in January this year.
HOUSTON (CN) – Shell Oil will spend $115 million to reduce pollution from flares at a Texas oil and chemical refinery, another $1 million to monitor benzene levels near a school, and pay a $2.6 million fine, federal prosecutors said.
On 15 November 2012, Severn Trent Water Ltd pleaded guilty at Hereford Magistrates’ Court to polluting the River Leadon, a high quality salmon and trout watercourse, by discharging untreated sewage from their Ledbury sewage treatment works.
The company was fined £18,000 (£6,000 per offence) and ordered to pay £5,017 in costs, along with £15 victim surcharge. The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under Regulation 38(1)(a) and Regulation 12(1)(b) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010.
Yesterday’s prosecution relates to three incidents in August 2011, which resulted in untreated sewage entering the River Leadon, causing the death of fish.
Over the weekend of 6/7 August 2011, the Environment Agency responded to calls from the public reporting a number of dead fish on the River Leadon. On inspection of the area, a Fisheries Officer assessed the pollution as a category one (major) incident, due to the number of dead fish observed over an 8km stretch below the Severn Trent Ledbury outfall.
The Environment Agency took water samples which detected low oxygen levels. Severn Trent were contacted, but they were not aware of a problem at their sewage works.
After checking their records, Severn Trent confirmed that on 4 August 2011, the inlet penstock that controls the flow of sewage through the works for treatment, automatically closed, diverting all incoming sewage to the River Leadon.
On Wednesday 14 November, Eddie Stobart Group Limited pleaded guilty at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court to one charge of causing a water discharge, namely ammonia, into the Cuttail Brook.
The company were fined £30,000, ordered to pay £4040.29 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge.
The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2010.
Eddie Stobart Group Limited occupy premises at the Sherwood Business Park at Annesley, Nottinghamshire.
Following a report of pollution on 1 August 2011, an Environment Agency officer attended the Sherwood Business Park to inspect several ponds and the Cuttail Brook which run through the business park. The officer observed a large number of dead fish around the margins of one of the ponds. When he checked the inlet valve to the pond he found a steady flow of clean water and there was also a strong smell of ammonia. Ammonia is very soluble in water and is toxic to fish.
A number of samples were taken from the pond where the dead fish were found. Analysis of these samples found that the levels of ammonia in the water were much higher than normal. Officers then checked the surface water drainage system serving the business park to locate the source of the ammonia. Upon lifting a manhole cover outside the site, a strong smell of odour was detected. Ammonia was smelt again when a manhole cover on the surface water drainage system in Willow Drive, near Eddie Stobart’s premises, was lifted.
Eddie Stobart’s premises were inspected by Environment Agency officers as they were known to use ammonia in their refrigeration system. It was established that there had been a problem with the refrigeration system on the site resulting in a loss of compressor oil.
All of the other companies on the business park which drain surface water into the pond were visited and none were found to have lost any ammonia.
An intensive clean up operation was undertaken shortly after by the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water Limited and contractors appointed by Eddie Stobart.
Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said, “This pollution resulted in the death of over 1,000 fish in an area which is popular with anglers and also near to a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We take cases of pollution to watercourses very seriously due to the environmental damage that can be caused. In this case we considered all the relevant factors and decided that a prosecution would be an appropriate course of action on this occasion.”
In mitigation a solicitor representing Eddie Stobart Group Limited told the court that the pollution that occurred was not a deliberate act and the refrigeration system that caused the pollution was well maintained by an expert and authorised contractor. The company has now put a new system in place so that the incident could never happen again. They went on to say that the company takes it environmental responsibilities seriously and they admitted responsibility at the earliest opportunity.
The cost of restoration has been met by the company and all parties who carried out the cleanup have been compensated.