To help ensure that these duties are not compromised the Water Industry Act 1991 contains certain offences and regulatory powers which allow us to take enforcement action, including prosecution.
These offences include:
- Section 111 - makes it an offence to discharge any matter which is likely to damage the sewer, interfere with the flow of its contents or affect the treatment and disposal of its contents
- Section 118 (5) - makes it an offence to discharge trade effluent without a consent or other authorisation
- Section 121 - allows us to impose conditions on a consent and makes it an offence to fail to comply with those conditions.
These offences carry an unlimited fine if referred to the Crown Court. We may also seek to recover any costs in dealing with such matters. These will be charged directly to the customer as a non-standard charge.
We expect full compliance with relevant legislative requirements and will treat all breaches of the law seriously. We will keep you informed of any enforcement activities with a customer.
In the event that a breach of legislation is identified, we'll initiate an enforcement escalation process which is aimed at ensuring long term compliance.
After a breach of legislation has been identified an assessment will be made as to the most appropriate way to deal with it.
The following factors will be taken into consideration during this assessment:
- Severity of the offence
- The risk to the environment
- The risk to our staff and the public
- Offending history.
We recognise that there are alternatives to prosecution, for example, consideration will be given to:
- An informal warning
- Action planning
- Formal cautioning.
Where there has been a breach of a trade effluent consent and the circumstances mean that formal action is required, then samples of the trade effluent will be taken.
The cost of any formal sampling will be recovered from the discharger.