Whilst the world was commemorating ‘World Water Day 2017,’ on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, water company, Thames Water was with fined a record £20.3m for polluting the River Thames with 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage.
The water organization was requested to pay £19.75m in addition to costs in Aylesbury Crown Court for offenses at six offices in the Thames Valley amid the period 2012-14. This is by a long shot the biggest punishment forced on a water organization for a natural rupture.
The organization was indicted for each of the six contamination offenses on the whole by the Environment Agency which relate to numerous offences at sewage treatment works at Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and a large sewage pumping station at Littlemore.
As indicated by reports in the national media, Judge Francis Sheridan, who conveyed the sentence on Wednesday ironically stated: “The way that Thames Water takes its name from the River Thames does not make it their property to harm and dirty.”
Commenting on the fine, Thames Water chief executive Steve Robertson, appointed in September 2016, said: “We deeply regret each of these incidents at six of our sites during the period 2012-14. We asked for these incidents to be considered and sentenced together, because it was clear that our performance in this part of our region, at that time, was not up to the very high standards that we and our customers expect.
However, previous events show the company’s previous largest fine was £1m, which it was ordered to pay in January 2016 for polluting the Grand Union Canal in Hertfordshire, UK with sewage.
The River Thames was proclaimed organically dead in 1957 because the contamination levels turned out to be bad to the point that the measure of oxygen in the water fell so low that no life could survive and the mud stunk of spoiled eggs but fifty years later, the Thames has become a very different place. It teems with life; Thames Water serves 15 million customers, operates 350 sewage works across London and the Thames Valley, and is responsible for 68,000 miles of sewer pipes. It recycles 4.4 billion litres of sewage safely back to the environment every day – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The transformation has also won the International Theiss River Prize, a £220,000 award given to rivers that have undergone outstanding restoration.
It is therefore dis-heartening that after so much work to transform the river and restore its glory, it has been corrupted yet again. The whole situation has been deemed “wholly unacceptable.”