Scottish Water fined for sewage spill

Scottish Water has been hit with a fine of £7,500 after a sewage spill from one of its wastewater pumping stations polluted a Fife burn.

It was sentenced at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday (March 8) after pleading guilty to carrying out controlled activity liable to cause pollution of the water environment.

The incident, which took place in May last year, saw untreated sewage discharge into the Lyne Burn at Crossgates after a pump from the Humbug Park wastewater pumping station ‘tripped’. Another pump had been accidently switched off and an overflow pipe seal had become dislodged.

On attending the site investigating Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) officers found the burn was dark grey in colour, with sewage fungus and sewage odour present and appeared to be highly polluted.

SEPA investigating officer Carla Ward said that the severity of the watercourse pollution meant the incident was categorised as a ‘category one’ – the most serious.

She said: “Given Scottish Water’s experience we would expect them to fully appreciate the potential problems caused by a lack of telemetry information at a site, especially one like Humbug Park where there is little storage capacity in the event of pumps not working.

“While they did carry out a basic clean-up immediately after this pollution incident it was not enough to rectify the situation and given the seriousness of the pollution SEPA felt it wholly appropriate to report them to the Procurator Fiscal.”

Carys Matthews

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie