Severn Trent has gone to court in a bid to crackdown on companies illegally dumping waste, including chemicals, into its sewer system.
The water company has made its third successful prosecution this year, where guilty parties have been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling more than £100,000.
Last week (5 February), Arrow Environmental Services Limited was handed a fine of £43,750 and ordered to pay £80,000 in legal costs.
Severn Trent said the levels of fines are much higher than it has seen in previous court cases, where companies have generally been fined around £5,000.
It said the recent prosecutions show how serious the offences are and that judges will not allow companies to deliberately avoid doing what is right.
Arrow Environmental provides a range of “cost and environmentally effective processing, recycling and disposal services”, according to the company’s website.
It claims its customers include “SMEs, public service sector organisations and local government through to some of the UK’s best known brand names, which include the construction and demolition industry”.
James Jesic, managing director of production for Severn Trent, said: “Our customers pay for damage to the sewer network and the treatment works, so it’s important that we prosecute offenders in appropriate cases and take action to recover costs where possible.
He added: “We’ve targeted prosecution at companies that have been found to have deliberately decided not to invest in appropriate protection measures to make sure they meet the strict limits in their discharge permits.
“They have prioritised cost over compliance with their environmental responsibilities and the effects on our sewage treatment works was significant, so we’re happy that the level of fines imposed reflects that.”
Arrow Environmental had demonstrated a “poor compliance record”, Severn Trent said. The water company began investigating due to issues at its Rayhall sewage works which struggled to cope with substances entering the system.
On sentencing, the judge found Arrow Environmental had failed to keep promises to both Severn Trent and the Environment Agency to invest in its plant and the company had deliberately failed to put in place systems to avoid the offences.
Last month, Shropshire-based abattoir Euro Quality Lambs (EQL) was hit with a £100,000 fine for breaching waste release levels.
The news followed Beronhill Ltd in Wolverhampton being fined £120,000 for illegally discharging chemicals into Severn Trent’s sewers.
Severn Trent said it is highlighting such cases to encourage other firms to think twice before carrying out similar actions.