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Southern Water Fined for Sewage Spill That Killed 2,000 Fish in England *Centurion Insurance AFS*

Feb 28, 2024 (0) comment , , , , , , , , , ,


Southern Water was fined £330,000 on Tuesday after admitting a raw sewage spill that killed thousands of fish on the edge of England’s South Downs National Park.

Southern, which supplies more than 4.6 million people in England, acknowledged that sewage could have been leaking for almost 20 hours during the July 2019 incident because of faulty equipment at a pumping station near the park, a designated site of special scientific interest, according to a statement from the Environment Agency, which prosecuted the case.

The ruling comes weeks before Southern is due to raise bills by an average of 12% from April, which is likely to add further to public anger caused by frequent leaks and flows of raw sewage into Britain’s rivers and coastal areas from the industry.

Southern was fined £90 million in 2021 following widespread river and coastal pollution in several southern counties. The company has been hit by rising interest rates that have raised concerns about the financial health of the industry, even as ministers and regulators want more money spent on upgrades to decades-old infrastructure.

In today’s case, the court ruled that Southern had been negligent because it failed to respond when an alarm on the failed pump went off.

In a statement, Southern Water expressed regret for the “unacceptable historical incident,” adding that it had instituted a comprehensive review of more than 3,000 unmanned pumping stations and a rolling program of improvements to equipment and monitoring technology.

Photograph: People walk up the Seven Sisters cliffs from the beach below on May 15, 2018 in Seaford, England. Photo credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Copyright 2024 Bloomberg.

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