Company fined following river pollution

A company in Flintshire, North Wales has been fined £32,000 following two pollution incidents on local watercourses.

Mold Investments Ltd, owners of Parry’s Quarry in Alltami, pleaded guilty to four charges related to breaching their environmental permit, following two pollution incidents in 2017 that affected 5km of the Alltami brook and Wepre brook. 

It was found that the operator of the quarry did not have the adequate pollution prevention methods in place, which caused a bank below an outlet pipe to become smothered in a red clay-like material and the water in both brooks to turn chocolate brown. 

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) sampled the affected water at both incidents. The first, in October 2017, showed almost 600 times the safe limit of solid particles and the second in November 2017 was 17 times over the legal limit. 

Both incidents were registered as high-level by NRW and likely to cause serious harm or death to aquatic life. 

Pollution of this nature is known to bury fish eggs in the stream bed, suppress photosynthesis and damage fish gills resulting in their deaths.  

Anthony Randles, North East Wales environmental team leader for NRW, said: 

“Looking after Wales’ rivers and watercourses is a huge part of the work we do, as well looking after the habitats that depend on them. 
“Pollution incidents like this can devastate ecosystems which is why we put environmental permits in place to try and avoid them. 
“I hope this fine will send a message to similar businesses that environmental permits are to be taken seriously and that damaging the environment, whether deliberately, or out of negligence, comes with consequences.” 

The firm was fined £8,000 for each permit offence, totalling £32,000, as well being ordered to cover £6,653.86 in related costs.