Anglian Water donates £20,000 to Wildlife Trust as apology for polluting Sutton drain with sewage

Environment Agency

Environment Agency - Credit: Archant

A £20,000 enforcement undertaking (EU) has been agreed with Anglian Water after the company polluted a drain in Sutton, Cambridgeshire with sewage.

The Environment Agency accepted the offer by the water company to put right any damage caused by the pollution and to donate to an environmental charity.

As part of the enforcement undertaking, Anglian Water has donated £20,000 to the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire to benefit the local environment and also paid back the Environment Agency’s costs.

Peter Kellett, director of the Environment Agency, said: “Enforcement undertakings allow those who commit offences to restore the environment and to take steps to prevent a recurrence.

“When appropriate, they allow a quicker resolution than a prosecution and help offenders who are prepared to take responsibility for their actions to put things right voluntarily working with their local communities.”

Formal sample results taken after the incident in 2015 showed that crude sewage had grossly polluted approximately 840m of a field drain and a further 400m of the Division Drain, which it led into. A large quantity of rag (paper and sanitary items), solids and sewage sludge were found in the field drain around the point of discharge and immediately downstream.

A float alarm failed to trigger which would have notified the company there was an unconsented discharge after the sewer became blocked.

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Anglian Water arranged for the sewer to be unblocked and for tankers to clean up the polluted drain. The sewer had been checked 10 days before. Since the pollution the company has changed the frequency of checking from nine to six months and the alarm has been supplemented with a more advanced alarm system and the float re-positioned. A CCTV survey of the sewer has also been carried out.

The EU was offered in relation to an offence of pollution under regulation 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. It was accepted on 2 November 2016.