The operator of a Cornish waste management facility has been fined £180,000 and ordered to pay £325,000 costs after pleading guilty to 6 offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 including failure to comply with leachate level limits specified by an environmental permit, allowing leachate to overflow from a leachate extraction point, unauthorised emissions of contaminated water, failure to comply with water quality emission limits, failing to notify the Environment Agency and causing odour pollution.
The sentencing hearing marked the end of a lengthy and complex investigation lasting four years. The costs awarded by the court reflected the work that went into investigating and prosecuting this complicated technical case.
The Environment Agency has accepted an offer of £160,000 for an enforcement undertaking from a major brewer following a pollution incident at a cider factory in Hereford, which saw several thousand fish killed. The company also paid more than £12,000 to cover the Environment Agency’s legal costs.
The incident which occurred in August 2014, was caused when a container of ammonia-contaminated water was emptied to a surface water drain which connected to the Widemarsh Brook. At the time it was estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 fish were killed including bullhead, minnows, juvenile chub and dace.
An Evesham mushroom packaging and distribution company has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,888 for polluting a nearby brook with an effluent from rotting mushrooms. Some frogs and a significant number of invertebrates downstream of the site were killed as a result of the pollution incident.
On investigation, the source of the pollution was found to a skip full of decomposing mushrooms which was leaking into a surface water drain. This, it appeared, had been ongoing for a number of days. The operator was advised to remove the skip, undertake a cleaning operation and conduct a full inspection of the site drainage system.
In effect company failed to carry out the site drainage survey within a reasonable time so Environment Agency staff attended the premises again, to examine the site drainage system, and discovered that similar effluent was continuing to flow into it.