Yorkshire Water has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £753.58 costs after it admitted breaching its consent to discharge treated sewage into a West Yorkshire river.

Yorkshire Water Services Ltd, of Western House, Halifax Road, Bradford appeared before Huddersfield magistrates today (24/4) in a case brought by the Environment Agency.

It admitted two charges of breaching its consent to discharge from Neiley Waste Water Treatment Works at New Mill Road, Brockholes, Honley into the River Holme.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency Trevor Cooper said that Environment Agency officers routinely test the discharge from the sewage works to make sure that the effluent meets the conditions of their consent permits.

He told the court that in 2005 samples were taken that showed Yorkshire Water had exceeded the limit of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) on five occasions in that year.

Under the conditions in the consent, the maximum amount of BOD permitted in the discharge is 21 milligrammes per litre. The company is allowed to breach this consent three times in one year, therefore by having exceeded this limit on a further two occasions the Environment Agency brought two charges against the company.

The BOD is material which is broken down by bacteria, and during this process it removes oxygen from the water. Therefore the higher the BOD the less the oxygen present in the water and the greater the pollution.

Oxygen in water is needed to sustain life but in this case there was no evidence that the pollution damaged the river’s wildlife, the court heard.

But Mr Cooper said that in 2005 the River Holme had failed its standard for river quality for a stretch of 6.8 kilometres, downstream of the Neiley Waste Water Treatment Works.

He said that the Environment Agency believed that these breaches contributed to the poor water quality.

In its defence Yorkshire Water said that it regretted the offences which were largely caused by mechanical failure at the treatment works.

In sentencing the magistrates said that these were very serious environmental offences and that clean water was vital for both drinking, and for wildlife.
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After the court case, Environment Agency environment officer Andy Mollitt said: “Rivers in West Yorkshire are recovering from their industrial legacy and it is vital that businesses take responsibility for their actions and ensure that the environment is protected.”


Yorkshire Water was charged with the following:


1. On 2nd November 2005, did breach Condition 9 of Schedule 1 of Consent to Discharge 2255 in that the Biochemical Oxygen Demand in the discharge from Neiley Waste Water Treatment Works at New Mill Road, Brockholes, Honley into the River Holme exceeded 21 milligrams per litre, when there had already been three exceedances in the preceding twelve months.
 Contrary to Section 85(6) of the Water Resources Act 1991.


The company was fined £6,000 for the above charge.


2. On 23rd November 2005, did breach Condition 9 of Schedule 1 of Consent to Discharge 2255 in that the Biochemical Oxygen Demand in the discharge from Neiley Waste Water Treatment Works at New Mill Road, Brockholes, Honley into the River Holme exceeded 21 milligrams per litre, when there had already been three exceedances in the preceding twelve months.
 Contrary to Section 85(6) of the Water Resources Act 1991.


The company was fined £4,000 for the above charge.


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