In Court

Published: Saturday 28 February 2009

Indicted for killing fish: Thames Water, the largest water and wastewater services company in the UK, was recently ordered to pay US $180,643 by a UK court for accidentally releasing sodium hydroxide into the Wandle river in south west London in September, 2007.

It turned the river milky and more than two tonnes of dead fish were found floating amidst a strong smell of bleach along a five-kilometre stretch, according to eyewitness reports. The mishap is seen as one of the worst incidents of pollution in Britain that overturned years of painstaking river restoration efforts.

The prosecution for the ruling said the staff of the sewage treatment plant were careless. By the time they were called up by members of the public, 1,600 litres of the chemical used to clean sewage filters had already poured into the river killing more than 7,000 fish, said the prosecution.

After Thames Water pleaded guilty, it was ordered to pay an additional US $30,702 towards the river's restoration.

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