ANGLIAN Water will have to pay out nearly £100,000 in fines after a contaminated brook killed more than 1,500 fish.

All three pumps at Ingrave Pumping Station, near Brentwood, failed on the morning of April 10, 2011, meaning sewage was released through an emergency overflow pipe.

No alarms sounded to alert engineers, meaning more than three miles of Haverings Grove Brook became contaminated.

The Environmental Agency brought the prosecution against Anglian Water, who entered a guilty plea, to breaching two conditions of their environmental permit at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday 19th).

The company were fined £50,000 for the contamination, ordered to pay a contribution towards the Environment Agency’s costs of £44,736, and a victim surcharge of £15.

Fish including bullhead, stoneloach and minnow were killed. Many would have been spawning at the time, so the impact on reproduction could have been significant.

The permit authorises Anglian Water to discharge sewage to the brook via the overflow pipe in the event of emergency. However two conditions were not complied with – failure to provide and maintain a 24-hour alarm system and failure to return the station back to working order following the incident.

Environment Agency officer Peter Cooke said: “It had a catastrophic impact on fish and was distressing for local residents who value the brook for its diverse wildlife.

“After the incident Environment Agency officers were faced with the unpleasant task of removing over 1,500 dead fish from the brook, including a significant number of bullhead, a Biodiversity Action Plan species and important food fish for kingfishers and herons.’’