United Utilities fined £27,000 for Keswick sewage leaks

A water company has been fined £27,000 for allowing raw sewage to pollute an area of the Lake District.

United Utilities blamed two leaks into the Pow Beck watercourse in Keswick on technical problems at its Portinscale pumping station.

The waste also seeped into a ditch and a field and the firm said steps had now been taken to prevent further leaks, Workington Magistrates' Court heard.

The incidents happened on 26 December last year and 8 January this year.

The water firm was also ordered to pay £1,702 costs.

'Avoidable incidents'

The court heard that a member of the public reported seeing raw sewage overflowing into Pow Beck and a nearby ditch and field on 8 January this year.

The overflow was caused after pumps at the station failed to pump the sewage into Keswick Waste Water Treatment works, the court was told.

United Utilities also admitted an earlier leak on 26 December which it blamed on technical failures at the same pumping station.

The court heard that the company had carried out clean-ups in the affected areas after both spills and blamed extremely cold weather for equipment failure.

Environment Agency spokesman Jeremy Westgarth said: "This incident had the potential to have a major impact on the environment.

"We have worked with United Utilities and other partners to drive improvements in water quality in our rivers and lakes.

"It is disappointing that avoidable incidents, such as this, continue to happen."

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