Cmpany is fined fr plluting water

PUBLISHED: 11:03 28 February 2008 | UPDATED: 22:01 03 May 2010

AN Ely cmpany has been rdered t pay mre than £10,000 after discharging sewage int water used by vegetable grwers t irrigate their crps. The Prduce Cnnectin, in Chittering, had been discharging ful water frm its small sewage treatment plant f

AN Ely cmpany has been rdered t pay mre than £10,000 after discharging sewage int water used by vegetable grwers t irrigate their crps.

The Prduce Cnnectin, in Chittering, had been discharging ful water frm its small sewage treatment plant fr sme time having a serius effect n the envirnment, Ely magistrates heard n Tuesday.

It was fined £7,000 and rdered t pay £3,133 csts t the Envirnment Agency after magistrates heard that sewage had entered a drain in April last year used by neighburing farmers t water their ptates, wheat and salads.

Bth farmers were cncerned abut the quality f the water and ne blcked ff the drains t islate the pllutin while the ther increased water sampling frm mnthly t weekly. But n ful water was actually used by the farmers.

The cmpany admitted n r abut April 10 causing pllutin t enter the watercurse at Ely Rad, Chittering.

Anne-Lise McDnald, prsecuting, tld Ely Magistrates that it was apparent frm the nature f the pllutin that the drain had been affected fr sme time alng an 800m stretch.

Magistrates were tld that, althugh a cmpany representative was c-perative when fficers were n site, the cmpany had failed t respnd t a frmal request fr infrmatin during the inquiry.

Three interviews arranged by the agency were cancelled by the cmpany, the curt heard.

The Prduce Cnnectin emplys 15 peple n an eight-acre site, grwing ptates fr the prcessing and chipping industry.

Managing directr Steven Ripley tld the Ely Standard after the curt hearing that the agency's request fr an interview came at a time when the cmpany was wrking flat ut t bring in the ptat harvest.

"The agency wanted t interview in the middle f the ptat harvest and was nt prepared t cmprmise," he said.

"As sn as we had identified the prblem we srted it ut immediately and we pleaded guilty.

"The small sewage treatment plant was supplied by a cmpany n a list given t us by the Envirnment Agency abut eight years ag and sld as maintenance-free. We have nw replaced it.

"There was n risk because farmers wh want t use water fr their crps test it thrughly befrehand."

He said that in the winter the water level in the drains was kept lw t avid flding and when the level was released back int the drains in the summer his cmpany used a damming system t prevent the drain getting t full.

"There is very little water ging int the dyke, s it is segregated reducing the risk," he said. "This culd have been reslved withut ging t curt. We didn't g ut f ur way t d anything wrng. This was an unfrtunate situatin which we rectified the mment it was brught t ur attentin.

"The stance the Envirnment Agency has taken has nly created ill-feeling.

"But it is a general reflectin f hw the industry feels abut the Envirnmental Agency.

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