NORTHUMBRIAN Water (NWL) has been fined for three separate pollution offences which included one at Broomley.

The water company admitted one charge of causing a discharge of untreated sewage into Smithy Burn at Broomley on August 19, 2016, and was sentenced on Monday at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Two other similar offences were taken into consideration as part of this case following unpermitted discharges of sewage on June 26, 2015 at both Summerhouse and Killerby Sewage Treatment Works both near Darlington.

The pollution at Broomley originated from a storm overflow channel, which allows rainwater and sewage to bypass a sewage treatment works in times of heavy rainfall.

To be lawful, storm overflows should be incorporated into the works’ environmental permit.

But according to the Environment Agency, this was not the case at Broomley, since NWL’s environmental permit clearly states that discharges to Smithy Burn should consist only of treated sewage effluent.

Malcolm Galloway, appearing for NWL, told the court that the storm overflow at Broomley had been permitted because it was included in the permit application made back in 1989.

Sentencing, District Judge Roger Elsey ruled that the company’s culpability was low, but that the additional offences at Summerhouse and Killerby meant the fine had to be increased.

Northumbrian Water was ordered to pay over £33,600 in fines and costs.