In February 2013 the Environment Agency investigated a report that a stream in the village of Hardington Mandeville had turned green/brown and smelled strongly of slurry. The pollution was traced to Manor Farm where a slurry lagoon and dirty water system had overflowed allowing slurry to enter watercourses running through the farmyard.
A court heard there was a history of pollution incidents at Manor Farm. The Environment Agency had, over a number of years, recommended improvements at the farm to reduce the risk of pollution from slurry and dirty water. This advice had been ignored.
In this latest incident, the pollution entered the Chinook Brook and was visible some six kilometres downstream at the confluence with the River Parrett.
Appearing before Yeovil magistrates, William Turner, of Manor Farm, Hardington Mandeville, Yeovil was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £4,900 costs after pleading guilty to discharging poisonous, noxious or polluting matter into a tributary of the Chinook Brook, an offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010.
The Environment Agency has issued anti-pollution works notices that require specific works to be carried out at Manor Farm including an alarm system in the dirty water tanks to warn when they are full. Mr Turner has now agreed to ensure that clean and dirty water on the farm are separated.
Dan Aplin for the Environment Agency said:
Farm slurry is highly polluting if it escapes into rivers and streams. Farmers must ensure their dirty water systems operate correctly and are properly maintained. The problems at this farm were largely due to a failure, on the part of the defendant, to make badly-needed improvements to his slurry handling system.