South West Water is to pay £350,000 to the Westcountry Rivers Trust after it caused serious pollution that killed fish in a Devon stream.
The payment – an Enforcement Undertaking – is an alternative to prosecution for South West Water, and will be used to benefit urban watercourses in the Plymouth area including the Tamerton stream where the pollution occurred.
Dead fish in the stream were reported to the Environment Agency in August 2016. The pollution was traced to an overflowing manhole on South West Water’s combined sewer network. South West Water and its contractors arrived on site that evening and stopped the discharge the following morning.
However, the pollution killed more than 100 brown trout. The dead fish were found downstream near Tamerton Foliot, close to where the stream enters the Tavy estuary.
Mike Ingman for the Environment Agency said:
“The Tamerton Stream has suffered several pollution incidents over the past five years. It is good to see a positive outcome from what was serious pollution of a local stream. South West Water has since cleansed the main sewer line that runs through the woods and this should help reduce the likelihood of any further pollution.”
The South West Water Enforcement Undertaking offer will fund the Plymouth River Keepers Project, which will help to offset the damage caused by the water company.
The Westcountry Rivers Trust will use the money to restore fish numbers through additional habitat management work and pay for a programme of community engagement to raise awareness of pollution problems on Plymouth’s urban streams. The project also aims to increase public usage and appreciation of the Tamerton stream and encourage community-led monitoring of local watercourses.
Dr Nick Paling of the Westcountry Rivers Trust said:
“We are excited about the Plymouth River Keepers Project. By encouraging people to reconnect with nature and bringing urban rivers and streams back into the affection of the people living close to them, we believe we can have a positive impact.”
This is not the first time this action has been taken. Last year, 15 environmental projects benefitted from Enforcement Undertakings, to the overall tune of £2.2m.
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