Wolverhampton firm fined £120,000 for dumping chemicals into Severn Trent’s sewers

5th January 2018

Beronhill Ltd, based at the corner of Lower Walsall Street and Corser Street in Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to charges of breaching limits for cyanide, zinc and chemical oxygen demand (COD) at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

The judge decided the breaches were a deliberate act and fined the company £120,000, with another £60,000 in costs, for its actions. The chemicals dumped into the sewers eventually ended up at Severn Trent’s Barnhurst Sewage Treatment Works in Oxley, where the company had to deal with the issue.

James Jesic, Managing Director of Production for Severn Trent, said: “While we’re happy with the outcome, it was extremely concerning that Beronhill deliberately failed to put in place systems to avoid these illegal discharges, something that was recognised by the judge.

“It’s particularly disappointing the company has behaved in this way given their previous convictions of the company for similar offences in 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2014.

“It’s absolutely vital that we take this sort of legal action to protect both our treatment works and also the environment, as well as recovering costs that, otherwise, our customers would have to bear.”

Cyanide samples taken by Severn Trent in February 2015 were found to be more than two-and-a-half times the agreed limit for the firm. Zinc samples taken in November 2015 recorded levels more than double the limit, and COD was sampled at two-and-a-half times the limit.

Higher than allowed levels of chemical discharges could lead to the sewage treatment works having to shut down, with the knock-on effect that sludge produced at the works cannot be used for agricultural purposes and has to go to landfill.