South West Water has been ordered to pay £86,000 in fines and costs for a sewage spill in Devon.
According to the Environment Agency, sewage was discharged into Dawlish Water, a stream that runs through the centre of town, over a bank holiday weekend in August 2015.
It states an alarm was triggered at 8.15am but the water company didn’t dispatch an emergency crew to deal with the problem until 11.40am.
However, instead of going to Brook Street, they went to Brook House in another part of Dawlish and reported nothing was wrong.
It wasn’t until a second team arrived, around six hours after the alarm went off, that the discharge was discovered and steps were finally taken to stop the pollution.
The problem was caused by a brick which had somehow entered and blocked the sewer causing it to overflow, following which the bathing water had to be closed for more than 24 hours.
South West Water said the overflow had a “minor, localised impact on water quality” in Dawlish Water but did not affect bathing water quality at Dawlish Town, which was classified “good” at the end of the 2015 bathing season.
A spokesperson added: “We accept and apologise for the impact that warning signs erected on the beach after the incident had on the local community.”