SEVERN Trent has been fined £1.5million for discharging sewage into the water supply.

The company has been hit in the pocket after it was found to have failed to respond to alarms at its works in Blackminster near Evesham warning of sewage discharge.

Similar incidents also took place in Bromsgrove and Stoke Prior.

The water company has also been ordered to pay prosecution costs of £58,365.

The court heard how the company failed to respond to alarms warning of a blockage, failed to adequately manage sewage sludge, and failed to adequately manage a situation when a piece of equipment failed, resulting in sewage being discharged into a number of watercourses.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Counsel Mr James Puzey told the court that in February 2018, Severn Trent Water failed to respond promptly to alarms at its sewage treatment works at Blackminster, near Evesham.

A blockage to the works resulted in approximately 360,000 litres of sewage being illegally discharged to the nearby Broadway Brook.

It was hours before Severn Trent Water operatives attended to take remedial action.

Severn Trent Water’s previous convictions were an aggravating feature of this prosecution.

A fine of £1 million was imposed for the offence at Blackminster and £500,000 for the offence at Priest Bridge.

No separate penalty was imposed for breaches at Bromsgrove and Stoke Prior.

Since these incidents the company has advised the Environment Agency that it has changed its management structure and provided better technical support.

The company has also invested at the Bromsgrove works to improve treatment efficiency. Severn Trent Water Ltd have also stated that it plans to rebuild its works at Blackminster, and to close the works at Stoke Prior towards the end of the decade.

David Throup, environment manager for the West Midlands Area of the Environment Agency, said: "Incidents like this are preventable and are completely unacceptable, particularly at a time when the need to protect the water environment for wildlife and people has never been greater and when public consciousness on environmental matters is so high.

"Water companies are aware that their activities have the potential for serious environmental impacts, and they know that we will take action when they cause pollution. The Environment Agency does and will continue to hold water companies to account when their performance falls below acceptable standards.

"We’d urge anyone that sees suspected water pollution to report it to us immediately on our incident hotline on 0800 807060."