Severn Trent Water has been hit with charges totalling nearly £465,000 for polluting a stream with sewage.
The water company pleaded guilty to charges of polluting the Shire Brook with raw sewage on three separate occasions within 12 months, on 9 May 2013, 17 December 2013 and 29 April 2014.
It was fined £426,000 by Nottingham Crown Court and has to pay Environment Agency Costs of £38,642.60, plus a victim surcharge of £120.
Due to a blocked pipe, sewage backed up and leaked into the water drain leading to the Shire Brook on the first two occasions. The final leak saw thick sewage sludge coming down the hill, pooling at ground level and contaminating the brook.
An Environment Agency officer said: “This is one of the largest fines ever to be imposed on Severn Trent and I hope it sends a strong message that it is far more cost effective to avoid these incidents. We will continue to take action against companies and individuals where they ignore their responsibilities.”
Severn Trent told ELN they are “truly sorry” for the pollution.
A spokesperson added: “Over the last 12 months we’ve worked hard to improve our environmental performance across the whole of our region and have significantly reduced the number of pollution incidents we’ve had. Moving forward we’re investing £125 million over the next five years to maintain our sewer pipes to prevent blockages like this from happening in the first place.”
In the last financial year Severn Trent’s pre-tax profit was £512.6 million.
The firm recently formed a joint venture with United Utilities under the name “Water Plus” in the business retail market.