Southern Water dump excrement in sea
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We recycle wastewater from almost two million homes before returning it to rivers and the sea. Follow the stages below to see how this happens. Wastewater comes from water used in the home, in businesses and factories and from rain falling on roofs or the roads and pavements. All wastewater follows the same route, wherever it comes from.
These carry the water, now called sewage, to the waste treatment or sewage works. Sewers can get by fat that’s poured down sinks instead of binned. Lots of things get into the sewers that shouldn’t. Condoms, cans, plastic bags, nappies… even false teeth and wallets. All must be removed during the first stage of treatment, along with the gravel and debris washed in from the roads.
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We do this by pumping the water into large, deep tanks called sedimentation tanks. Here, heavy particles of solid waste sink to the bottom to form a layer of sludge. We then take the sludge away for treatment, after which farmers can use it as fertiliser. This leaves us with water that has a lot of invisible dirt that we need to take out in the next stage.
We do this in two ways: Holding the water in large tanks and pumping in air continuously, so helping the bacteria grow and thrive (activated sludge) Passing the water over beds of special stones (or filter beds) which are home to waste-eating bacteria. The almost-clean water goes through one final stage of treatment, which allows us to take out any last remaining waste particles.
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Sometimes we use a reed bed instead. Unless the effluent is to be discharged to a sensitive environment which requires further treatment we return the water to rivers or the sea where it is ready to go through the cycle all over again. Treating sewage produces a lot of solid matter called ‘sludge’.
We use large tanks (known as digesters) where bacteria break the sludge down and release methane gas. We collect this and use it to generate electricity or heat to dry the sludge and produce fertiliser granules. In some cases there is an extra stage of treatment. Whenever we’re returning the effluent to an environment where algae can easily grow, we remove the nutrients that encourage such growth.
Horrific Story Of How Southern Water Polluted Kent’s Seas For … Things To Know Before You Buy
Picture: Peter Still, Southern was sentenced today at Canterbury Crown Court after admitting 6,971 illegal discharges from treatment works in Kent, West Sussex and Hampshire from 2010-2015. While effluent destroyed whole oyster beds in the Swale and Solent rivers, with fishing businesses suffering, board members were aware of the huge scale of the illegal operation, the court heard.
Raw sewage was also spilled into The Solent’s protected waters, between Southampton and Chichister. Shellfish in both rivers were made unfit for human consumption and withdrawn from the market, but it is believed 9-10 thousand entered the human food chain, the court heards. The Environment Agency launched Operation Garden, its biggest investigation to date, after high levels of E-coli were discovered in the Swale.“On multiple occasions, employees would refuse to permit Environment Agency officers to take away documentation it wished to seize under statutory powers, refused them to walk around sites citing health and safety, and refused to answer questions despite the agency’s powers to require answers,” the judge continued.
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Southern knowingly polluted The Swale, and rivers near Southampton and in the South Downs. Picture: James Hughes, But the Environment Agency would later unearth evidence the firm systemically polluted the Swale, the Solent and Beaulieu River in the South Downs for 61,714 hours – the equivalent of seven years. Mr Justice Jeremy Johnson said there was “an intentional breach of, and flagrant disregard for the law, by the board of directors.”He told the court Southern has 168 convictions and cautions, adding it has “a wholesale disregard for the environment.”It was fined 2 million in 2016 after untreated sewage polluted the sea and beach at Margate.“The offences are aggravated by its previous persistent pollution of the environment over many years,” he continued.
Responding to the sentence, Southern Water’s chief executive Ian Mc, Aulay said: “I am deeply sorry for the historic incidents which have led to today’s sentencing and fine. I know that the people who rely on us to be custodians of the precious environment in southern England must be able to trust us.”What happened historically was completely unacceptable and Southern Water pleaded guilty to the charges in recognition of that fact.”We have heard what the judge has said and will reflect closely on the sentence and his remarks.
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I joined Southern Water in 2017 and am passionately committed to the environment. We have changed the way we operate.”My expectation is that Southern Water is fully transparent and operates in the right way. We continue to transform across the areas of risk and compliance, measurement and self-reporting. We have made much progress and are continuing to invest to protect the environment and deliver our services safely and at a fair price for our customers.”Today’s fine will not impact customers’ bills and investment in our transformation will not be reduced.
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Margate pumping station (Image Southern Water) Southern Water has been fined a record £90million for illegally dumping raw sewage into the sea. During a sentencing hearing at Canterbury Crown Court, it was heard the water company pumped an estimated 16bn to 21bn litres of untreated sewage into protected waters around the south coast.