Sewage pollution leads to £200,000 restorative charity donation

The Environment Agency has secured a £200,000 donation through an Enforcement Undertaking following a pollution incident near Doncaster.

Yorkshire Water Services Ltd paid £200,000 to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, admitting it caused sewage to enter the Pissy Beds Drain, a tributary of the River Trent.

Enforcement Undertakings are a restorative enforcement sanction. Polluters can make an offer to the Environment Agency to pay for, or carry out, environmental improvements as an alternative to other enforcement action. The Agency then considers whether the remedial efforts offered by the polluter are acceptable.

In September 2015, the Environment Agency was made aware of a burst at a main surface water sewer. Further investigations showed that a transfer of foul sewage between pumping stations led to raw sewage entering the Pissy Beds Drain near Hatfield Colliery.

Elevated ammonia and low dissolved oxygen levels were detected due to sewage entering the watercourse, which had potential to harm fish and the invertebrate life. The Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water Services’ response meant the pollution was contained while the burst was located, stopped and fixed.

Yorkshire Water Services cleaned the watercourse and repaired the rising main that burst at a cost of £235,000. It also paid the Environment Agency’s costs and carried out a review of its telemetry system to ensure early warnings are received and acted on, with additional alarms put in place.

The Enforcement Undertaking offers were accepted by the Environment Agency in February 2019 and payments to the charity have been made. The donation of £200,000 to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will be used to fund Humberhead Levels Nature Improvement Area.


Image credit | Shutterstock
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