6th February 2017

Pollution incident costs brewer £172,000

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.

1st February 2017

Mushroom firm fined £50,000

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.

4th January 2017

Engineering company fined £150,000

A North-East engineering company was fined £150,000 for safety breaches after two of its workers were burned when they were sprayed with chemicals during chemical cleaning of a pipework system.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that the task was not adequately risk assessed, the equipment provided to do the job, in particular the hosing, was not suitable for the solution, and the company failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to its employees.