Carcase disposal company fined for pollution

A livestock carcase disposal company has been found guilty of polluting a stream for half a mile in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Clarkes of Melton pleaded guilty to the charge of pollution during a hearing at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court last week. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,196.

The court heard that the company failed to seal the overflow on its underground tank effectively, which enabled foul water to overflow via a pipe into nearby woods. The water, which contained maggots and pieces of flesh, then ran into the steam.

The underground tank was initially intended to collect rainwater, but builders had connected the foul drainage to it without Clarkes’ knowledge. Following the incident in July 2008, Clarkes began to use the tank to collect the foul water produced by washing down the metal bins used to transport the dead animals.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Miriam Tordoff told the court that Clark had been warned eight days before for a similar offence committed in July 2008 and said that the liquid was grossly polluting on both occasions.

Company director Phillip John Clarke was unable to explain to Environment Agency investigators why there was so much liquid in the underground tank and claimed it was emptied every other day. He said the tank was emptied on 2 September – two days before the offence was reported.

Clarkes has now installed a 50,000-litre sealed tank above ground, into which the wash water will be pumped from the underground tank and the overflow from the underground tank has been permanently sealed, the court heard.

Sentencing, District Judge Cooper said it was “ghastly but unintended consequence of bad building work”.

After the hearing, Environment Agency officer Ben Marshall said: “The effect on the environment of this waste liquid was serious. The ecologically important invertebrate life was wiped out over a large stretch of the stream. This case should serve as a warning to others that correct treatment and containment of wash water should not be ignored.”

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