SOUTHERN Water has come in for more criticism after it was announced yesterday customers will get a rebate on their bills after being found to have poor management of its sewage treatment.
Southern Water was whacked with a £3m fine by regulator Ofwat – with a further £123m to be paid in customer bill rebates over the next five years, in place of an additional financial penalty.
A report highlighted ‘significant’ breaches of the company’s licence conditions and statutory duties between 2010 and 2017.
This included employees’ ‘widespread and deliberate’ measures to ‘hide’ the true performance of its wastewater treatment works by manipulating sewage samples.
Wastewater discharge can contain a toxic cocktail of domestic, industrial and agricultural pollution from the sewage systems.
These pollutants contribute significantly to declines in freshwater and marine species such as salmon and native crayfish and can have impact humans through shell fish, for example.
Debbie Tann, chief executive at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Our chalk streams and coastal waters are amongst the most important and precious habitats for wildlife and are under untenable pressure.
‘For decades our rivers and seas have been polluted by wastewater discharges as well as run-off from the land. The Wildlife Trusts and other groups have long since highlighted the devastating impacts that these toxins can have on our wildlife and natural environment; decimating freshwater and marine species and jeopardising our vital natural resources. We have repeatedly called on water companies and other polluters to clean up their act.
‘Our water companies must have both a responsibility and a vested interest to protect and enhance the environment and create a healthy and sustainable resource for both people and wildlife. We are pleased to see that Southern Water are taking meaningful steps to transform the way they do business and moving away from the bad practices of the past.’