South West Water has been ordered to pay two separate fines in as many days. On Monday the company was fined £16,000 for discharging poor quality sewage effluent into the Tamar estuary and on Tuesday it coughed up a further £9,350 in fines and costs after sewage polluted a stream near one of Cornwall’s most popular surfing and bathing beaches.
The second fine relates to an incident in June of last year, where South West Water failed to alert the Environment Agency until 12 hours after a spill from a sewage pumping station at Perranporth when crude sewage was discharged into the Bolingey stream in Cornwall.
Andrew Blewett of the Environment Agency said: “South West Water had sufficient advance warning to put the necessary measures in place to prevent these discharges occurring. These could have included tankering away sewage from this site that only has limited storage capacity. Its failure to reduce the rising levels of sewage resulted in an avoidable spillage of crude sewage to a high profile bathing beach on a fine summer’s day.”
The water company accepted responsibility for the second case but blamed vandalism for the other. The firm said in a statement: “On three of these occasions blockages in the tanks were found to have been caused by items including a traffic cone, child’s scooter, a tyre and car steering wheel, believed to have been thrown in by vandals.”