Abattoir fined after blood turned beck red

editorial image

An Ossett abattoir and its director have been fined a total of £21,500 for polluting a watercourse with blood and animal waste on two occasions.

Ossett Abattoir Services Ltd, and Sajad Ali, 30, of Wakefield Road, Ossett, were sentenced at Wakefield and Pontefract Magistrates’ Court today, each having been found guilty by District Judge Lower of discharging blood and waste animal matter to inland freshwaters.

They were prosecuted by the Environment Agency following investigations into reports that Spring Mill Beck, in Ossett, was running a red-brown colour.

Nigel Augustin, prosecuting for the Environment Agency at the trial on 28 August 2015, told the court that the first pollution incident occurred in May 2012.

Responding to reports from the public, investigating officers inspected Spring Mill Beck and saw that the water had turned red, and there was an unpleasant smell. The polluted water flowed into Spring Mill Park ponds, which had also turned red-brown in colour.

The Environment Agency’s investigations found that the pollution was caused by effluent from the abattoir. A blockage in the abattoir’s drainage system caused the effluent to run into surface water drains, discharging to Spring Mill Beck, rather than the foul sewer.

Water samples taken from the beck showed that water quality had been adversely affected by the pollution.

Ali was asked to cease operations at the site but refused to do so.

Some 18 months later, in November 2013, Environment Agency officers were back at Spring Mill Beck investigating a similar report that the watercourse was running dark red in colour.

The pond in Spring Mill Park had once again been affected, and the source of the pollution was traced back to the abattoir.

Inspections of a foul sewer drain near the premises revealed a blockage caused by blood clots and animal guts. A drain inside the property showed a similar picture: congealed blood and solids, some as large as a tennis ball, were blocking the drain.

The company was permitted to discharge its animal waste to the foul sewer, but on the condition that discharges contained no material larger than 3.35mm in size.

Mark West, environment management team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “Trade effluent from industry can have a devastating impact on the natural environment if it is not treated and disposed of properly. We hope this case shows how important it is that businesses comply with environmental regulations and manage their operation effectively to ensure that their activities do not put the environment at risk.

“Anyone who sees any pollution should report the matter to our incident hotline on 0800 807060 so we can investigate.”

The company was fined £10,000 for each offence and Sajad Ali was fined £1,500 for the one offence he was charged with in relation to the incident in May 2012. The company was also ordered to pay £5,921.16 in costs and a further £224.65 on wasted costs for a previous hearing. Both the company and Mr Ali were also ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge each.