Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Water fined £40,000 after pollution spill

Northern Ireland Water Limted (NI Water) has been fined £40,000 after pleading guilty to causing a pollution spill from one of its water stations in Co Londonderry.

The incident occurred near Fortwilliam Bridge, along a stretch of waterway close to the Maghera Road in Tobermore on February 15 last year.

Northern Ireland Water was prosecuted due to the seriousness of the pollution spillage, which had the potential to devastate aquatic life in the river.

A NI Water spokesperson said: “NI Water views it's responsibility to the environment with the utmost seriousness, having invested £500 million in the network over the last three years, helping make our rivers and beaches the cleanest that they have ever been.

“Unfortunately, on this occasion, we failed to maintain the highly exacting standards that we set ourselves and we have already begun the process of implementing lessons learnt.

“A full survey and investigation of the drainage system at this site has been conducted and remedial actions to mitigate the risk of such an occurrence arising in the future are being put in place."

NI Water treats 340 million litres of waste water every day through a network which comprises more than 15,000 kilometres of pipes and more than 1,000 wastewater treatment works.

The spokesperson added: “As a company, we place the highest possible priority on the protection of the environment to which we safely discharge treated water each and every day from our wastewater treatment plants. 

“Like all water companies, however, we realise that the extent and size of the network we operate means there is a risk of pollution incidents of this nature occurring. 

"For this reason, the company is set stringent targets by the Utility Regulator to reduce pollution incidents, and whilst these targets have been consistently met and exceeded since 2008 on those rare instances when an incident does arise it is a matter of the utmost regret to no one more than ourselves.”

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