Situated in Wales this was our first prosecution (but not our only one) led by Natural Resources Wales. Right from the start something did not add up. NRW’s case suggested a large industrial dishwasher at our food and drink sector client had caused quite a significant pollution incident at a nearby stream running through a public park. The problem was the dishwasher which washed in effect baking trays and trays used to carry baked products on might have been capable of raising the flow in the brook by 0.5mm. But the pollution had clearly caused a flow at the culvert exist of around 30-45cm above normal. It also looked, smelt and tested like domestic sewage from the public sewer on the same system.
Further investigations confirmed the Water Company had unblocked this sewer at the time of the pollution. The plot thickened. But had then traced the supposed cause of the pollution incident back to our client’s site and not their sewer. NRW of course believed what they had been told.
In Court the client pleaded guilty to having a wrongly connected dishwasher and was fined the lowest amount possible by the judge for such an offence. The prosecution had been seeking a fine in excess of £1 million.