From the Thames Water Annual report published on Monday. We have requested details of the 16 cat 1&2 incidents, as ever the devil is in the detail.
Full annual report is here http://www.thameswater.co.uk/tw/common/downloads/aboutus-financial/thames-water-utilities-limited-annual-report-and-financial-statements-31-march-2013.pdfPreventing pollution incidents
The EA categorises pollution incidents on a scalefrom one (most serious) to four (no significant environmental impact). It maintains the official database of all reported pollution incidents and
confirms numbers for each calendar year.For the year ended 31 December 2012, the total
number of Category 1 and 2 pollutions were 16 (21in 2011). The number of Category 3 pollutions
increased 89% to 461.The two pollution incident KPIs are flagged as“amber”, reflecting the comparison with the 2008-10 water industry average (as required by Ofwat).
One of our most serious incidents was at Beddington sewage works where a fire destroyed the powerhouse and control room, resulting in total loss of treatment capability. This caused
significant pollution to the River Wandle. Despite our immediate response, a number of fish were
killed. This was very disappointing given all the hard work and investment to improve the river after
a more serious pollution incident in 2007.
The overall increase in pollution incidents last yearwas partly due to record levels of rainfall, with some sewers overflowing and causing pollution as a result.
It was also partially due to an improvement in our processes which meant thatwe were able to identify more incidents and report these to the Environment Agency (“EA”). However,we think that our performance last year also had an impact; for example the sheer volume of rainfall during the year led to a significant increase in the number of incidents, which in turn affected the speed at which we able to respond to incidents.
We are working hard to improve our performance. As part of this plan we have introduced a 24/7
pollution and tankering desk to speed up response to incidents. We also have a team focused on
cleaning and maintenance at blockage hotspots, and we have improved alarm systems to help
identify problems with our sewers and pumping stations before they cause a pollution incident.