Fined for discharging effluent in a stream

A FOOD producer has been fined £8,000 by the court after it was found to be discharging dirty effluent in a stream in Old Leake.

Bakkavör was discovered to have been disposing of contaminates from its Cucina Sano factory into the river following testing on the water last year. Officers from the Environment Agency (EA) later discovered the company failed to make proper checks to make sure the plant was operating properly.

The Icelandic company pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the conditions of an environmental permit when it appeared at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

At the hearing, magistrates were told that the company can only discharge treated trade liquid from a treatment plant once it has been cleaned to a prescribed standard, yet sample testing by the EA in May last year found that water in the stream was contaminated and may be causing significant damage to wildlife living in the water.

Claire Corfield, prosecuting, said the company had failed to make adequate checks on the waste and the company had been prosecuted for similar offences at other sites.

She added: “They only became aware of a problem when an environment officer arrived on site in response to a report from a concerned member of the public.”

Mitigating, Richard Palmi told magistrates that a biological culture in the treatment plant may have failed before the pollution. He added that previously, there had been no in-house sampling to ensure everything was working as it should, but the plant had now been decommisioned.

Bakkavör was also ordered to pay full costs of £4,632.

After the hearing, environment officer Graham Cantellow said: “Daily checks were inadequate and a better system to monitor the quality of the discharge from the treatment plant would avoid environmental damage and legal proceedings.”

A spokesman for Bakkavör said: “Bakkavör regrets the incident and took measures as soon as the discharge was discovered to change the process used to remove effluent from the site and prevent a recurrence of the incident. Bakkavor remains committed to complying with all the appropriate environmental legislation and the adoption of best practice principles.”