Recycling Company fined for Oil Spill that killed Swans

A RECYCLING company has been fined £19,000 after admitting polluting a waterway and killing two swans.

AWS Eco Plastics has been fined a total of £19,500 and ordered to pay full Environment Agency costs of £8,447 for twice polluting a dyke with oil at Hemswell Cliff, near Gainsborough.

Lincoln magistrates heard the first spill was in October 2008 and occurred after workmen filling generators with diesel forgot to turn off the pump. The oil was left gushing out for two hours and about 1,000 litres ran into surface water drains at Hemswell Cliff. Two adult mute swans from a nesting site at Hemswell Cliff died as a result, prosecutor Claire Bentley told the court.

Environment Agency officers advised blocking drains on the roof straight away to prevent any further pollution and cleaning of the roof. On a visit almost two weeks later an agency officer found booms and absorbent pads were saturated with oil, although the drain was clear further downstream before the final boom, but the roof had still not been cleaned and contaminated soil at the premises had not been removed.

A month after the incident, there was still a need for more cleaning, the court heard. In March 2009 there was another spill estimated to be about 740 litres of diesel when an unknown member of staff left a pump running while filling a fork lift truck.

A month later there was still diesel mixed with algae on top of the lake although the water was much cleaner.

Miss Bentley told the court that in both pollutions there had been significant environmental impact for about 650 metres downstream, adversely affecting the amenity and chemical water quality. She said: “There was evidence of poor management on site.”

Both incidents required extensive clean-up measures with the clean-up contractors still visiting the site for more than a month after each incident.”

In mitigation, Jonathan Dunkley said in August 2009 the site suffered a devastating fire in which temperatures reached 850 degrees centigrade yet no diesel was lost from the mechanical infrastructure.

He said that this was testament to the measures the company had taken since the second spill.After the hearing, Environment Agency officer James Finch said: “Unfortunately oil pollution is a common problem and a lack of infrastructure and poor management are not acceptable.”Pollution prevention should be common practice.”

The second incident was completely foreseeable as procedures had not been adequately improved since the first spill.”

via AWS Eco Plastics has been fined a total of £19,500 and ordered to pay full Environment Agency costs of £8,447 for twice polluting a dyke with oil at Hemswell Cliff, near Gainsborough..

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