2 UK farms finally fined over ‘major’ water pollution incidents
As reported by Farming UK, a so-called ‘major water pollution incident’ killed fish and caused a ‘significant impact’ on local groundwater back in late 2015.
The farms, Sutton Grange AD Ltd and Sutton Grange Services Ltd, are both near Retford in Nottinghamshire. They managed to pollute a pond with a nasty discharge of maize silage effluent and pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching environmental regulations.
The problems occurred thanks to storing a significant amount of maize on a purpose built clamp, itself built on top of a manhole linked to a stone outfall at Bluebell pond. Environmental Officers discovered very low dissolved oxygen levels in the pond and also found that the maize clamp was blocked, sending a yellow liquid flowing down the yard. The silage had escaped the shallow perimeter drain and leaked into the manhole which discharges to the pond.
The Environment Agency prosecuted the two companies, and Sutton Grange Services Ltd were also found to have failed to comply with the silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil regulations in relation to a second pile of maize. Sutton Grange AD Ltd was fined £6,000 and Sutton Grange Services Ltd were fined a total of £2,800. They paid £10,000 costs each plus a victim surcharge of £170. They have now ‘taken a number of steps to improve operations at the site to ensure that no further incidents such as this would happen again’.
A sharp rise in farm water pollution
The Irish publication Business Post IE reports on the sharp rise in farm-led water pollution. It looks like big farms in Ireland are coming under scrutiny, and about to face a crack-down thanks to ‘official alarm’ about the sudden increase in water pollution.
According to the Irish Times “A deterioration of water quality in Irish fresh and sea waters has been described as “completely unacceptable” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some 269 waterways in Ireland, which include rivers, coastal areas, canals, estuaries and lakes, deteriorated in quality between 2015 and 2017. Human activity, and, in particular, the presence of nitrogen and phosphorus from farming is blamed for the worsening trend. Nitrogen and phosphorus are used in artificial fertilisers.”
One science-minded Norfolk farm improves water quality and cuts pollution
EPD24 have some good news around farming and mitigating pollution of our waterways.
Apparently one very special Norfolk farm is determined to prove you don’t need to be a scientist to do useful research about improving water quality and reducing pollution. Morley Farms are usually busy hosting complex crop trials for the country’s top science institutes, but their latest project involves improving the quality of the water on farms.
Farm manager David Jones says the Morley Clean Water Project is so easy any farmer can join in. It means farms can ‘bring valuable real-world improvements without major investment’ thanks to clever computer software that maps every ditch and water course, some of which you won’t find on ordinary maps.
The water can be tested using cheap test bottles and sampling strips costing just twenty quid for 100, perfect for revealing levels of nitrates and other chemicals in the water. Doing so pinpoints potential problem areas, which the farmers can then investigate further to find out what can be done to stop the nitrates, phosphates and sediment finding their way into waterways.
The measures taken can actually be very simple, and they’re also often extremely effective. A farmer might simply level the banks that run alongside tracks, dig our blocked drainage channels, or even leave ditches to naturally block, slowing the speed of water to trap sediments. The idea is that the water that leaves every farm via a ditch is as clean as it was when run from the tap or other source. In Mr Jones’ words, “We want to demonstrate simple straightforward interventions that anyone can do, with modest time and effort, which can make a big difference to water quality.”
Farmers – Avoid environment fines for water pollution with our help
Today’s Environment Penalties can be very stiff indeed. As a farmer you can avoid them, and we’ll help you do exactly that – feel free to contact us
David Cole MSEE
David is a pioneer of the spill containment and water pollution prevention industry with 30 years experience. He was instrumental in the development of CIRIA736 with The Environment Agency and is passionate about preventing water pollution.