River Don sewage dump: Yorkshire Water pays £150,000 penalty for an unauthorised sewage discharge

Yorkshire Water has paid a £150,000 penalty for an unauthorised sewage discharge into the river Don.

The cash will be given to the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust following an unauthorised crude sewage discharge into Kirk Bridge Dike and the River Don in Sheffield in April 2020.

Yorkshire Water also agreed to cover the Environment Agency’s investigation costs and to replace the sensor on the telemetry equipment at Darnall Road Combined Sewer Overflow to ensure they are made aware of any further issues.

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Sewage spills into England’s rivers and seas by water companies more than doubled in 2023.

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According to the Environment Agency, there were 3.6 million hours of spills, compared to 1.75 million hours in 2022.

Mike Dugher, Environment Agency area director for Yorkshire, said: “Protecting the environment in Yorkshire and taking action against those that damage or threaten this is our utmost priority.

“While we will always take forward prosecutions in the most serious cases, Enforcement Undertakings are an effective enforcement tool to allow companies to put things right and contribute to environmental improvements.

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“They allow polluters to correct and restore the harm caused to the environment and prevent repeat incidents by improving their procedures, helping ensure future compliance with environmental requirements.”

A spokesperson for the company said that the Environment Agency had found ‘limited evidence of harm’ to the watercourse.

The spokesperson said: “We acted quickly to stop this pollution, which was initially caused by a blockage in our network, but know incidents of this kind are distressing and when things go wrong, we understand we have a responsibility to make it right and to prevent these things from happening at all. We have completed the work to replace the sensor to our storm overflow. The Environment Agency investigation found limited evidence of harm to the watercourse.

“Unfortunately, it has taken a number of years to reach an agreement with the Environment Agency to donate funds to local wildlife charities that will directly benefit Yorkshire, but we are pleased to have finally provided funds to Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust. We’re committed to protecting the environment and our procedures and processes continue to evolve, contributing to a halving of pollution incidents in the last five years.”

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