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Food company fined for waste discharges

Thursday 12th September 2019 12:00

Trade waste entering sewer

One of the UK’s largest Chinese kitchens has been ordered to pay more than £420,000 after Thames Water discovered it was illegally allowing trade waste to enter the sewers which could create fatbergs.

Hypergood Ltd, trading as Royal Gourmet which supplies restaurants across London, admitted 20 offences at Willesdon Magistrates’ Court and was hit with the largest fine ever received for this type of offence.

An investigation found uncontrolled trade effluent from the company’s Park Royal site was not only entering foul waste sewers but also surface water sewers which flow directly into rivers and streams.

While no direct environmental damage was discovered as a result of Hypergood’s actions, there was potential for a real impact on local biodiversity which was why the fine was so severe.

Thames Water permits a limited amount of effluent to be correctly put into the sewers but despite numerous warnings and attempts to resolve the issue, Hypergood continued to offend.

Tony McHattie, trade effluent manager at Thames Water, said: “The size of this fine, which is the largest given for a trade effluent prosecution, reflects the seriousness of the breaches of consent and illegal discharges.

“It is vital all our customers are being compliant with consent conditions and while we will always work with them where possible, Thames Water will not hesitate to take legal action if necessary.”

The offences occurred over an 11-month period starting in October 2017 with the magistrates saying despite efforts from Thames Water to educate them, adequate action to stop the problem had not been taken.

Alexis Alexandrou, trade effluent technologist at Thames Water, said: “The key purpose of regulating is to protect the public and our sewer network and prevent environmental damage. We take breaches like this very seriously.

“Companies are responsible for knowing what is being discharged from their site and where this enters the public sewer system.  It’s very important they check and ensure they take appropriate measures to keep to their consent conditions.”

Hypergoods pleaded guilty to 20 offences under the Water Industry Act 1991 and was fined £415,000. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £9,428 and a victim surcharge of £1,170.