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Waste firm fined for water pollution

Waste firm Biffa was fined £105,000 with costs of £26,943.73 for polluting groundwater.

The company pleaded guilty at Sunderland Magistrates Court to five charges of breeching environmental permits by allowing leachate from its Houghton-le-Spring landfill to escape and failing to notify the Environment Agency.

Graham Donachie, pollution prevention team Leader at the Environment Agency, which brought the prosecution, said: “There were a number of management failings on site at the time which contributed to the pollution and this case highlights the need for landfill operators to have in place effective and comprehensive operating and monitoring practices.

“It also highlights the need for operators to inform us when something on site happens that has the potential to damage the environment.”

Biffa said the since the incidents in 2009 and 2010, it had carried out significant work including the treatment of contaminated water and installing new monitoring equipment.

It said monitoring and modelling of the groundwater indicted it was now safe to drink.

The firm said it Biffa “deeply regrets” that the incident occurred and assured residents that remedial action had been taken.

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