Clandown Farm in Somerset has been fined £9,425 after the Environment Agency (EA) found slurry pollution on site, with dirty water escaping from a storage lagoon used to store milking parlour washings.
Farm operator Brunt Partners decided, instead of repairing the lagoon, to install a drain to shift the leaking liquid to a soakaway nearby where the potential was there to cause pollution and contaminate groundwater.
The EA’s Andrew Grant said: “Slurry and dirty water lagoons can cause serious pollution. This case shows how important it is for farm operators to invest in and adequately maintain these structures to prevent illegal discharges that can harm the environment.”
Brunt was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £4,245 in costs after pleading guilty to the offence of causing or permitting the illegal discharge of dirty water. The amount they had to pay reflected the fact that directing the liquid to the soakaway was deliberate and pollution had continued for a prolonged period.
As a business, you’re responsible for preventing your company from causing or allowing pollution to happen. Any substance not naturally found in the environment could cause pollution, including dairy by-products like milk and cream. If you’re discharging substances to ground or surface water, you may also need an environmental permit.
If you do pollute, you could be hit with an unlimited fine, go to prison for up to five years, or both. You may also be required to pay the entire cost of the clean-up. If pollutants have entered or could enter a watercourse or soak into the ground, call the EA pollution incident hotline.
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