Severn Trent faces £2m fine for River Trent pollution incident

An investigation found that the water supplier had inadequate contingency plans, including a major pump being out of action for 52 days

A recent court ruling has imposed a fine of over £2 million on Severn Trent for pollution of the River Trent.

The court heard how two out of three pumps failed at the Stoke treatment works, leading to the discharge of contaminated water into the river.

Lead investigator Adam Shipp, a Senior Environment Officer at the Environment Agency, said: “Severn Trent were fortunate that this incident did not cause a catastrophic pollution in the Trent as the river already had high flows when the discharge occurred.

“Our investigation showed that their contingency plans were woefully inadequate with a major pump being out of action for 52 days prior to the incident.

“Even though Severn Trent knew Storm Clara and Storm Dennis were about to arrive they did not think to proactively source alternative pumps and get them to site.

“When the second of the three pumps failed it made sourcing and installing a replacement pump very difficult and as a consequence, the works was not properly functioning for another five days and eight hours.

“This is not the sort of response we would expect to see from a professional multi-national company and as a consequence, they have now put in place on site measures to ensure that an incident like this does not happen again.”

A Severn Trent spokesperson told Energy Live News: “We are sorry for the local site issues that led to this incident four years ago.  We have accepted full responsibility and regret the course of events that led to this isolated issue.

“Throughout the investigation, we’ve been fully open and transparent with the Environment Agency.

“Lessons have been learnt and action taken to address the local site issues and we’ll continue to implement our wastewater recycling management system which operates to the highest standards of compliance.”

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