Water company fined for discharging poor quality sewage effluent into Tamar estuary

South West Water has been ordered to pay £20,226 in fines and costs for discharging poor quality sewage effluent into the Tamar estuary. The case was brought by the Environment Agency. On February 16, 2011 South West Water reported to the Agency that an effluent sample taken six days earlier had failed the required standard and that the treatment works was continuing to discharge poor quality effluent.
An Agency officer visited the works and was told the site was experiencing a series of problems. There were longstanding problems at the inlet screens which remove bulky materials from the sewage as it enters the works. This had resulted in rags and other debris passing forward into the primary settlement tanks which, in turn, reduced the effectiveness of the biological treatment. The situation was made worse by the fact that five out of 16 paddle aerators used in the treatment process were broken. South West Water said there had been further problems from vandalism where foreign objects had been deliberately thrown into the final treatment tanks. As a result, the sewage had not undergone the full treatment process and the final effluent was much stronger than it should have been. Read more on the Environment Agency website…