Exeter contamination incident of February, 2006
South West Water today admitted four offences under Section 70 of the Water Act before Honiton Magistrates following the Exeter contamination incident of February, 2006.
In the case brought by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, South West Water was fined £20,000 plus £11,875 in costs.
South West Water's Director of Operations Dr Stephen Bird said: "Whilst our response after the incident has been praised as exemplary, we know this incident should not have happened given our clear procedures. Indeed we have accepted responsibility from the outset.
"Following the recovery of the situation, we have been quietly but thoroughly examining what happened and why. We have done an immense amount of work internally and with our partners, to make sure that we have the people, training and procedures in place to minimise the risk of a similar incident in the future.
"We would also particularly like to thank Sir John Evans for his independent report into the incident. His report requested at short notice was invaluable in helping us confirm what the relevant issues were for us as a company and in pointing the way forward."
Sir John Evans, former Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall, added: "I remain firmly of the view that had staff complied with the Company's approved procedures, it is highly unlikely that the contamination would have happened.
"I have also reviewed the Company's response to each of my 21 recommendations and it is to the Company's credit that they have addressed many of them during the course of my investigation rather than waiting to receive my final conclusions.
"Finally, I am happy to release the synopsis of the findings of my independent investigation into the causes of the incident."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1) Please find attached an approved and abridged copy of the independent report into the Belvidere incident by Sir John Evans. The report was commissioned by South West Water's former Chief Executive Bob Baty on February 14, 2006
2) 'Do Not Drink' precautionary notices were issued to around 3,000 households in North Exeter on February 6, 2006, following the discovery of diesel contaminant in drinking water supplied from the Belvidere Service Reservoir The notices were lifted on February 9, 2006, in consultation with local health authorities following an extensive flushing testing and monitoring programme
3) Following the incident, South West Water made a payment of £25 compensation under the company charter to every affected customer
4) Drinking Water quality in the South West is currently at its highest ever standard.
Published on: 20 June 2007