South West Water facing large fine after allowing sewage to spill into sea
South West Water is facing up to a potential £1.7 million fine from Britain's water regulator over "serious wastewater pollution incidents".
Ofwat said that the company allowed sewage to spill into the sea on seven different occasions in 2015.
It means South West Water - which provides services to customers throughout Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset - failed its own outcome delivery incentives (ODI) targets to eliminate all wastewater pollution incidents.
The bespoke targets are collaboratively set by UK water companies and customers, and then reviewed by Ofwat, in an effort to determine the amount utility firms can charge consumers based on annual performance.
Ofwat is now holding a consultation on the level and timing of the penalty.
South West Water has requested that the penalty be deferred until 2019 in the hope that it could be offset by ODI rewards for beating targets over the coming years.
The company acknowledged Ofwat's proposed penalty, but stressed that it met most of its own performance targets.
"Of the 10 commitments for last year three are below the target set," the company said in a statement.
"The areas for improvement relate to wastewater pollution incidents and South West Water accepts that its performance in these areas did not meet the stretching targets it set itself.
"The company is committed to making significant improvements and progress is already being made, following extra investment, training and a detailed review of processes and delivery methods."
The company said it will be issuing a response as part of Ofwat's consultation, which closes on November 22.