United Utilities fined £10,000 for sewage leak in Clitheroe stream

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WATER company United Utilities has pleaded guilty to causing sewage to leak from one of its pumping stations into a Clitheroe stream.

Following a successful prosecution by the Environment Agency, the company has been ordered to pay a fine of £10,000 and costs of £1,948.64.

On April 28th last year, the Environment Agency received a report to its incident hotline from a member of the public about a suspected sewage pollution from the United Utilities pumping station, at Fairfield Drive, in the Henthorn area of Clitheroe.

The sewage was leaking into a tributary of Pendleton Brook, which in turn flows into the Ribble.

An environmental officer visited the site, and confirmed the water was grey in colour, with growth of sewage fungus on the bed of the stream, and a strong smell of sewage.

The officer met with United Utilities on site, who confirmed a sewage pump had failed, causing the sewage system to overflow into the public surface water sewer, which discharged straight into the watercourse.

Samples of the water taken at the site confirmed there was a high level of bio-chemical oxygen demand on the water, which caused invertebrates in the watercourse to die.

Environment Agency officer Jackie Monk said: “It is important water companies monitor their pumping stations closely as they are not permitted to discharge any raw sewage into watercourses.

“Discharges of raw sewage have the potential to cause significant pollution to the environment.

“Although United Utilities responded promptly once they were notified of the incident, the investigation established the company had not responded to alarms notifying the company of problems at the pumping station.”