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The Environmental Agency is threatening to take legal action against Southern Water over sewage spills, it is being reported. The claims come alongside the completion of a two year long investigation into a sewage spill that occurred in Thanet sea water during 2012. The results of the damage of the spill, which closed down the beaches and bays on the isle, are currently being examined by a barrister.
Southern Water is thought to be responsible for the spill. Their pumping station spilled waste onto the foreshore in the incident two years ago. It occurred over the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee bank holiday weekend. More than 20 beaches were closed in the aftermath of the incident.
The Environmental Agency describes the investigation process as “complex” but it believes it now has enough evidence to possibly summon Southern Water to a court hearing. The Environmental Agency released a statement saying:
The Environment Agency have completed a very complex and detailed investigation into the alleged offences surrounding the Southern Water Services operated Margate Wastewater Pumping Station in June 2012. The resulting case file is now with Counsel for consideration. We are considering the evidence presented in the file and will apply the appropriate tests in deciding whether or not to prosecute.
The information was also passed to a Green councillor in the area too. He had a meeting with the manager of The Environment Agency to establish why the investigation had taken so long and what had been uncovered.
The Green councillor, Ian Driver, said:
The reason the investigation has taken nearly two years is because, I was told, this is the largest and most complex investigation carried out by the EA for Kent and South London ever. The investigation is now complete and the results have been passed to an independent, external barrister for evaluation and consideration. A summons may be issued.
I feel the people of Thanet have been well served by the EA investigating team who have put in tremendous effort and time. If this gets to court I hope the penalty is enough to make Southern water’s eyes water.
Southern Water recently challenged a fine of £200,000 at the start of this year in a similar case. It was fined due to technical faults at Foreness Point pumping station that caused untreated sewage water to discharge between January and July 2011. This caused several beaches in Thanet to be closed. The Court Of Appeal threw the case out.