Livestock market fined for polluting stream

A Somerset livestock market has been ordered to pay 4,515 for polluting a nearby stream with animal slurry and human sewage.

A Somerset livestock market has been ordered to pay 4,515 for polluting a nearby stream with animal slurry and human sewage.

A court heard that Frome Market's sewage treatment plant - which received human sewage as well as slurry - stopped working properly in May 2008. Site operators Premier Livestock Auctions Ltd responded by discharging effluent onto nearby fields via a pipe, but one of the fields became saturated and effluent drained into the Allebourne Brook.

Although the Environment Agency permits the discharge of treated effluent into the Clivey Watercourse, the effluent spread fields on May 8, 2008 contained a mixture of treated and untreated slurry and sewage.

Samples taken by Agency officers from a land drain discharging into the Allerbourne Brook was 'dark brown' in colour and equivalent in strength to raw sewage. Ammonia levels and the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) were much higher than normal, indicating that the stream had been contaminated with slurry.

"The site operators should have known that discharging into fields was unlawful and that the effluent from the market would end up in the brook. The disposal of effluent in this way is totally unacceptable," said Martin Frayling for the Environment Agency.

Premier Livestock Auctions Ltd was today fined 3,000 and ordered to pay 1,500 costs by Frome magistrates after pleading guilty to causing a poisonous, noxious or polluting matter, namely untreated slurry and sewage, to enter controlled waters contrary to Section 85 of the Water Resources Act 1991. The company was also ordered to pay a 15.00 surcharge.

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