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Severn Trent fined over £2 million for polluting River Trent

Person holding a phone displaying Severn Trent's logo on screen with its business webpage in the background.

Severn Trent has been fined over £2 million for causing pollution in the River Trent, as determined by the Cannock magistrates' court. 

It follows the discharge of large volumes of untreated sewage from its Strongford wastewater treatment facility near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, from November 2019 to February 2020.

The court found Severn Trent failed to establish and execute adequate contingency measures.

It led to the illegal release of approximately 240 million litres of raw sewage into the river. 

This incident occurred when two of the three essential screw pumps at the Strongford facility malfunctioned.

The Environment Agency criticised the company's emergency plans as extremely lacking.

Adam Shipp, a senior environment officer at the Environment Agency who led the investigation, said: “Severn Trent were fortunate that this incident did not cause a catastrophic pollution in the Trent as the river already had high flows when the discharge occurred.

“Our investigation showed that their contingency plans were woefully inadequate, with a major pump being out of action for 52 days prior to the incident. 

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“Even though Severn Trent knew Storm Clara and Storm Dennis were about to arrive they did not think to proactively source alternative pumps and get them to site.

“When the second of the three pumps failed, it made sourcing and installing a replacement pump very difficult and as a consequence the works was not properly functioning for another five days and eight hours.

“This is not the sort of response we would expect to see from a professional multinational company and as a consequence they have now put in place onsite measures to ensure that an incident like this does not happen again.”

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