An incident in which oil from a Withernsea school's heating system found its way into a nearby watercourse has resulted in a £18,000 fine for East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
The Environment Agency was alerted to the leak in January last year when a strong odour of fuel oil was discovered at Withernsea High School after an oil delivery and an oily discharge was seen from an outflow pipe. The oil made its way through drains and a watercourse, which connects with Winestead Drain and the Humber Estuary.
A rainbow discolouration was spotted in a 15km stretch of the watercourse, with a large amount of red oil around a pumping station on Winestead Drain. The oil came from a storage tank fueling the school's oil-fired heating.
The council, which owns and maintains the school, admitted causing polluting matter to enter inland fresh waters, in contravention of Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 at a hearing at York Magistrates' Court yesterday and as well as the fine, it must also pay £3,939.02 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
The council called in contractors to contain the leak, but the firm did not have all the necessary equipment and the Environment Agency, which was contacted the day after the spill, brought in booms to contain the pollution and prevent it going into the Humber Estuary.
Copyright Press Association 2012