Water firm admits pollution

Northern Ireland Water has been fined after admitting polluting a river but blamed its customer for causing the problem.

The firm pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court this week to polluting the Saintfield River when a blocked sewer overflowed.

The incident, on February 20, 2008, was caused by people throwing the wrong things down their loos, according to the company.

The water company was fined £500, as well as £22 costs, after pleading guilty to causing the pollution.

Following the case the case the firm issued statement asking people to take more care with what they dispose of in their lavatories.

It read: “NI Water takes any issue of pollution extremely seriously and acted quickly to clear the blockage.

“Many people genuinely don’t realise the potential damage they are doing, not only to their own internal pipes, but also to the sewerage system by flushing baby wipes, sanitary items and cotton buds.

“Unfortunately, in this case, inappropriate flushing has resulted in the sewer overflowing and causing this pollution incident and damage to the environment.”

The company has only been legally liable for its action since it took over from the original Water Service in April 2007, which had crown immunity.

Luke Walsh

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