YORKSHIRE Water was fined £10,500 for letting sewage get into a popular beauty spot.
It polluted the stream that leads to the lake at Pugneys Country Park, visited by hundreds of Huddersfield families.
The company was also ordered to full pay costs of £2,324.67 to the Environment Agency, which brought the case.
Elena Elia, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told Wakefield Magistrates’ Court that on April 7 last year, Wakefield Council contacted environment officers to report sewage in a drain running close to Denby Dale Road in the town. The sewage had stopped discharging by the time the council became aware of it.
Environment Agency officers went to investigate and informed Yorkshire Water, which was not aware of the leak until that point.
Ms Elia told the court that, once aware, Yorkshire Water responded quickly to unblock the drain, but said that there was a delay before feedback was provided to the Environment Agency, despite it being requested.
When Environment Agency officers attended the site of the incident, the water was black, smelt strongly and sewage litter was visible along long stretches of the drain.
It appeared that a sewer overflow had operated, spilling sewage into the drain. But the overflow was only licensed to operate in times of high flows, and there was not enough flow in the drain to prompt its legal operation.
Subsequent visits over the next two weeks found the problem was still bad and it was not until May 17 that the water was cleared.
In mitigation Yorkshire Water said that the leak was caused by a fat deposit, that there had been no fish killed, that the spill hadn’t affected the lake or any recreational use of the area, and that they had responded quickly.