Thames Water Apologises for Pollution Incident
Thames Water has been fined £3,334,000 by Lewes Crown Court after pleading guilty to a pollution incident that occurred in West Sussex on October 11, 2017.
The interim co-CEO of Thames Water, Cathryn Ross, and the director of sustainability, Richard Aylard, attended the court for the sentencing related to the incident that took place six years ago.
Expressing deep remorse, Cathryn Ross stated that the pollution incident into the Gatwick Stream and River Mole was entirely unacceptable. The incident resulted from the accidental activation of a storm pump, despite no operational need for it. Thames Water acknowledges that this was an unprecedented occurrence at the site and assures that such incidents have not recurred since.
Ross further extended sincere apologies for aspects of their response to the incident, which led to the regulator's finding that they had misled them. Thames Water acknowledges significant errors and poor judgment at the time and expresses genuine remorse for these actions.
To mitigate the harm caused, Thames Water voluntarily made payments totalling £1 million to three local organisations. These funds are being utilised for projects such as the development of a local catchment plan and the implementation of fish passage and habitat restoration measures.
Thames Water has conducted a thorough evaluation of the incident and has learned valuable lessons from it. They have allocated £32.9 million for a site improvement plan at Crawley, along with implementing various other enhancements.
These include improved staff training for better responses to pollution incidents, upgraded control systems on-site for real-time data access and alarm monitoring, and the installation of monitors to assess storm lagoon discharges.
Thames Water emphasises that any discharge of sewage into waterways is deemed unacceptable and that they are deeply committed to environmental protection. The company is passionate about the environment and acknowledges the personal and professional impact of such devastating incidents.
They are determined to make progress and have announced significant investments in upgrading sewage treatment works and sewers, aiming to reduce storm discharges and pollution incidents across London and the Thames Valley. This commitment builds upon their recent pledge to double investments in sewage-related infrastructure, amounting to £1.6 billion over the next two years.
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Source: Thames Water