Scottish Water fined again over sewage breaches

Scottish Water has been fined thousands of pounds for the second time in a month after it allowed sewage to pollute an island bay.

The public company was fined £6,667 at Oban Sheriff Court after sewage from a pumping station spilled into Tobermory Bay off the Isle of Mull.

This follows a £6,000 fine earlier this month after the company discharged sewage, which had not been properly treated, into Loch Ryan in Stranraer, also on the west coast.

Colin Bayes, director of environmental protection and improvement at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, which investigated the incidents, said: "We want to help people avoid pollution and work with them to find solutions.

"However, where pollution is significant or persistent, or is as a result of wilful or negligent actions, SEPA will use its enforcement powers to protect the environment for the benefit of all of Scotland's citizens."

Scottish Water was fined last Tuesday (March 16) after admitting it allowed "an activity liable to cause pollution of the water environment".

SEPA investigated the incident in April 2008 after complaints from the public about sewage entering Tobermory Bay from the harbour wall base.

Agency officers told Scottish Water about the problem but by September 2008 it had still not been fixed.

Seawater, sand and pebbles flowing in through a sewer break had damaged transfer pumps, forcing untreated sewage to back up and overflow into the bay, it was discovered.

Jenny Davies, SEPA's investigating officer, said: "Odour from the discharge has affected residents and visitors to Tobermory and concerns have been expressed about perceived deterioration in water quality.

"Local residents and others have also expressed concerns about the possible effects on human health arising from contact with the sewage contaminated water.

"Tobermory Bay is extremely busy, with a large proportion of visitors to the island arriving by boat and it supports a large number of recreational and commercial activities, including fishing, sailing and swimming."

David Gibbs


| Scotland


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