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United Utilities Fined For Sewage Spill

UK - United Utilities has been fined 14,000 for a serious water pollution incident in July 2009 which caused the death of over 6,000 fish at Three Pools Waterway, Southport.

The incident occurred as a result of failure of the foul water pumps at the Crowland Street pumping station.

On the 2 July 2009, following a call from a member of the public, officers from the Environment Agency visited the site where they met representatives from United Utilities and took samples of the discharge of the effluent and of the watercourse both upstream and downstream. It became apparent that there had been a large discharge of sewage which had had a devastating effect on the fish population.

The pollution caused the oxygen levels in the watercourse to fall and ammonia contained in the sewage is toxic to fish. The Environment Agency tried to reduce the impact of the pollution by deploying hydrogen peroxide to boost oxygen levels in the watercourse; however, a three-mile stretch of the river was affected. The fish included roach, bream, tench, pike and perch of all sizes and ages. It is estimated that it will take seven to ten years for the river to recover.

A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said: “This was a major incident which had a devastating impact of the fish population. United Utilities own and operate the sewer network throughout the region and are responsible for resolving any problems with this system. This incident caused significant damage to the environment, which could have been avoided or considerably reduced if the company had correctly reset a pump when it responded to an alarm.”

the Fish Site Editor

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