Yorkshire Water Services fined over Sewage Leak

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A WATER company has been ordered to pay more than £12,500 for allowing rotting sewage to get into a stream which leads to Pugneys Country Park.

Yorkshire Water Services (YWS) was fined £10,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,324 to the Environment Agency (EA), at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Elena Elia, prosecuting, told the court that on April 6, 2010, Wakefield Council reported sewage in a drain near Denby Dale Road.

It had stopped discharging by the time the council became aware of it and the EA told YWS, which responded quickly.

Ms Elia said when environment officers attended the site two days later “the water was black, smelt strongly and sewage litter was visible along long stretches of the drain”.

The smell was worse almost a week later when officers saw water bubbling in places as the sewage was rotting.

She said a sewer overflow, which is only allowed to operate in times of high water, had operate despite the water level being low.

An alarm system had failed to alert the water company of the spillage.

Perminder Kaur, mitigating, said the blockage was caused by a build-up of 1.5 tonnes of fat, which had been dumped illegally, but they never found the offending businesses.

Miss Kaur said no fish died and the spill did not affect the lake or any recreational areas.

She said the clear-up had already cost the company £10,000 and it was investing a further £2.5m in better alarm systems.

She added they were already monitoring the site four times a year and have increased that to monthly visits.

They have also given out letters to local businesses warning them of the dangers of putting fat down drains.