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Ofwat investigation into Anglian Water finds ‘serious concerns’ over sewage treatment works

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Anglian Water is one of five companies targeted by national water regulator Ofwat after ‘serious concerns’ were raised over their sewage treatment works.

Anglian Water treatment works North Cambridge. (55354380)
Anglian Water treatment works North Cambridge. (55354380)

The firm is being investigated by the regulator after analysis of initial reports submitted in December found their sewage treatment works may not be meeting environmental requirements.

Ofwat has served Anglian Water, which operates the North Cambridge sewage works, with a formal notice to gather further information.

Ofwat interim chief executive David Black said: “The data that emerged at the end of last year suggested widespread shortcomings in how water companies were running sewage treatment works. The first phase of our investigation suggests those concerns are credible.

“We have identified shortcomings in most water and wastewater companies and are continuing to investigate. But we have already seen enough in five companies to cause serious concern and warrant us taking further action.

Anglian Water treatment works North Cambridge. (55354404)
Anglian Water treatment works North Cambridge. (55354404)

“We will now dig deeper into what these five companies have been doing, with the prospect of formal enforcement against them if we find they are failing on obligations Ofwat enforces.

“We will have further questions for all companies on this. In the meantime, we expect them to make quick progress in addressing any potential non-compliance they might have, whilst strengthening how they manage their environmental obligations as a whole.”

Each of the companies, which also include Northumbrian Water, Thames Water, Wessex Water and Yorkshire Water, raised one or more of the following concerns in the information they provided:

  • it reported a significant number of wastewater treatment works which the company considers might not be compliant with its environmental permits, and/or
  • it raised concerns about how overall the company manages its compliance with its environmental obligations, and/or
  • it did not sufficiently show how the company has established whether its treatment works are meeting the requirements of its environmental permits, and so further information is needed for assessment.
Anglian Water treatment works North Cambridge, settlement tanks. (55354403)
Anglian Water treatment works North Cambridge, settlement tanks. (55354403)

Ofwat’s enforcement powers can see the regulator fine companies up to 10 per cent of their annual turnover.

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