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Premier Foods fined £15,000 for effluent discharge

By Mike Stones , 04-Jan-2013
Last updated on 04-Jan-2013 at 11:58 GMT

Britain’s biggest food manufacturer Premier Foods has been fined £15,000 for the illegal discharge of effluent into the Severn Trent Water’s sewer system.

Worksop Magistrates Court heard that the manufacturer had exceeded the legal limits in the amount of trade effluent it discharged into sewer.

Magistrates were told that on November 29 2011, effluent discharged into the sewer by Premier Foods at its Worksop site was found to be 26 times above the permitted limit for chemical oxygen demand and 23 times the permitted limit for suspended solids.  

Trade discharges

Speaking after the hearing, the water authority’s waste water services director Simon Cocks said: “The limits we set to regulate trade discharges are calculated to ensure they do not adversely affect the capacity of our sewage works to efficiently treat sewage.

“So exceeding these limits is not only illegal; it can damage the sewage treatment process and risk causing harm to the environment.”

Cocks added that the water authority’s customers had to pay for damage to the sewer network and sewage works caused by such incidents.

“It’s important that we hold companies to account in appropriate cases and take action to recover costs where possible,” said Cocks.

Take action in court

“However, rather than having to take action in court, we would prefer to work together to prevent any breaches occurring in the first place.’’

The case was heard on Wednesday December 19 following prosecution by Severn Trent Water for breaches of the Water Industry Act 1991.

Premier Foods was fined £15,000. It was also ordered to pay legal costs of £5,106.18.

No one from Premier Foods was available to comment on the prosecution.

Meanwhile, the water authority supplies water to a population of about 7.7M people through a water pipe network of  46,000km.

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