NuGen Properties

Winvic fined for ‘gross and chronic’ pollution


A survey revealed that the discharge of contaminated run-off from the site had caused ‘gross and chronic’ pollution

While Winvic was working on the East Midlands Gateway warehouse development site, a drain blocker failed during heavy rainfall, causing the contamination of nearby Hemington Brook.

At Nottingham Magistrates’ Court this week Winvic Construction Limited admitted causing pollution and was fined £160,000 plus costs of £25,577.79.

The court was told that Winvic was contractor at the site when Hemington Brook became highly turbid and discoloured with clay solids.  A biological survey revealed that the discharge of contaminated run-off from the site had caused ‘gross and chronic’ pollution, adversely affecting invertebrates.

A member of the public alerted the Environment Agency when the brook started “running red with silt pollution” on or before 27th September 2019.

The source was traced to an outfall near the development site, which was the responsibility of the company.

Staff told officers from the Environment Agency that a drain blocker had failed. This had allowed the contaminated contents of two ponds to drain and discharge into the brook via a flood attenuation basin.

Officers from the Environment Agency attended the site again on 30th September 2019 and found that the discharge had not been stopped.

Analysis was carried out revealing that the level of suspended solids in Hemington Brook had measured between 1200 and 1400 mg/l downstream. By comparison, historical sampling data from 2019/20 indicated an average level of 50 mg/l suspended solids with a maximum of 240 mg/l.

High levels of suspended solids in water inhibit plant photosynthesis and lower oxygen levels. They can clog fish gills and smother fish spawning areas.

The court accepted that the offence was due in part to unprecedented rainfall in the local area.

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