A QUARRY company has been fined for polluting more than two kilometres of a Huddersfield stream.
Marshalls Mono Ltd has permission from the Environment Agency to discharge effluent from Sovereign Quarry in Shepley into a tributary of Shepley Dyke.
But on March 13 last year a discharge by the company contained more than 10 times the permitted level of suspended solids, a court was told.
The company, of Birkby Grange, Birkby Hall Road, Birkby, Huddersfield, pleaded guilty at Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court to one offence of breaching its discharge consent.
Magistrates fined Marshalls £3,000 and ordered it to pay full prosecution costs of £4,098.09 and a victim surcharge of £15.
Trevor Cooper, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the magistrates the alarm was raised by a member of the public who reported that the tributary was a milky brown colour.
When an environment officer attended she was unable to see the bottom of the stream, even though it is only 30 centimetres deep.
She traced the source of the pollution to contaminated water from Sovereign Quarry being discharged from a settlement lagoon.
Samples showed the level of suspended solids to be 485 milligrams per litre, compared with the permitted level of 40 milligrams per litre.
The discolouration of the water was visible for more than 2.2km downstream.
Mr Cooper told the court the pollution could potentially have harmed plants, fish and invertebrates.
He said suspended solids in water can stunt aquatic plant growth and affect oxygen levels, as well as destroying the habitats of insects and invertebrates, which are a source of food for fish and birds.
The company had admitted the offence in interview, when it said it had stopped pumping because the discharge was “not clean”. However, Marshalls took no steps to stop the discharge from continuing to enter the water- course.
Mr Cooper said Marshalls’ previous record was an aggravating feature. The company received warning letters from the Environment Agency about discharges from Sovereign Quarry in October 2006 and January 2007 and in October 2003 was fined after admitting three offences of polluting groundwater with effluent.
In mitigation, the court heard Marshalls had co-operated with the Environment Agency during its inquiries and had paid initial investigation costs of £385. It had no convictions in the past four years.