Firm responsible for River Wandle red diesel spill could face £50k fine
THE business responsible for this week's potentially disastrous red diesel leak into the River Wandle could face a fine of up to £50,000.
The Environment Agency told the Advertiser it believed it had identified the source of Monday's fuel spill and was now looking to take legal action.
However, a spokesman would not give further details, saying investigations were under way to find out exactly how the incident happened.
He said: "It now becomes a possible legal matter; we will look to prosecute if we can."
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
The spillage of several hundred litres was discovered by J Breheny Contractors, hired by Croydon Council, when its workmen arrived on site in Wandle Park, Waddon, at about 7.30am.
And their quick actions to deal with the spillage and stop it spreading downstream have been praised by the council and the Environment Agency.
The contractors are working on bringing the river above ground through the park as part of a overall £1.4 million improvement scheme.
William Dalton, the site manager for J Breheny, said: "When we got to the site on Monday we noticed that part of the river had turned red and that it was polluted with red diesel."
While emergency calls were put out to the Environment Agency and Thames Water, workmen from the company got down to the job of stopping the spread.
Mr Dalton said: "As part of our environment policy we have a lot of equipment on site and we were immediately able to put a couple of booms across the river to stop the flow downstream and threw absorbent pads into the water to soak up the diesel."
Then, working with Thames Water, the contractors used sucking machines they also had on site, to remove the oil from the water's surface before placing it into tankers for removal.
Mr Dalton said: "We were very lucky and I think the action we took meant that very little, if any, of the diesel spread down the river.
"It could have been very nasty if the more of the river had been polluted."
Mark Higginson, from the Environment Agency, said the swift action by everyone involved had stopped the situation getting worse.
He said: "This incident had the potential to seriously pollute the river and cause a great deal of environmental damage."
A spokesman for Croydon Council added: "It appears that the spillage originated from Croydon.
"It was really lucky we have the contractors on site who spotted the spill and acted quickly."
In October last year, a Nottinghamshire company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £10,106 in costs after pleading guilty to polluting a lake with red diesel.
The Environment Agency is still seeking information about the incident and anyone who can help is asked to call its 24-hour hotline on 0800 807060.