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News » UK » Water company fined for sewage pipe burst » published 21 Jan 2016

Water company fined for sewage pipe burst

A sewage leak due to failure to maintain infrastructure has cost Yorkshire Water a £600,000 fine.

Yorkshire Water Services Ltd was prosecuted after an ageing sewage pipe burst and killed hundreds of fish in a Wakefield lake.

The company was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday 19th January after pleading guilty to one charge of causing a water discharge that was not authorised by an environmental permit.

Yorkshire Water was also ordered to pay investigation and prosecution costs of £24,000 to the Environment Agency, which brought the prosecution following a pollution incident at Walton Colliery Nature Park in October 2013.

At an earlier hearing, the court heard that sometime on or before 5th October 2013 a rising main sewage pipe from the company’s Shay Lane pumping station burst and raw sewage flowed into Drain Beck, which feeds a fishing lake in Walton Park, which itself flows into the Barnsley Canal.

In April 2014, a survey found that the main lake and canal were almost devoid of fish. By March 2015 the lake had sufficiently recovered for a restocking programme to begin, paid for by Yorkshire Water, but it will be a number of years before the fishery fully recovers.

The court heard that there had been four bursts on this rising main in the previous two years, and on each occasion Yorkshire Water had put the failure down to age deterioration of the pipe. The rising main has now been replaced.

Environment Agency team leader Mark West said after the case: “Utility companies have a responsibility to properly manage their infrastructure and ensure that their operations do not put the environment at unnecessary risk. This pollution incident had a significant impact on the ecology of the lake and the canal and it could have been avoided had the company taken action to replace the pipe following earlier bursts.”




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This article was published on 21 Jan 2016 (last updated on 21 Jan 2016).

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