Original article from Kent Live
Southern Water was fined £90m on Friday (July 9) after thousands of illegal sewage dumps over a five-year period.
However, this was by no means the first hefty fine that Southern Water has received.
The company's history of fines dates back to 2007.
The incident, according to the company, was caused by lightning hitting their Foreness Point processing station during a storm, however the lack of a suitable contingency plan has since been questioned.
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The severity of the situation meant the council had to warn locals against swimming in the sea at 11 Thanet beaches.
After receiving another hefty fine recently, here's the company's history of fines.
The water industry regulator, Ofwat, fined Southern Water £20.3m for "deliberately misreporting information about its performance."
In this case, Southern Water were able to raise its prices by more than it should have done, according to Ofwat.
According to Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn: "Southern Water deliberately misreported its customer service performance to Ofwat and systematically manipulated information to conceal the company's true performance over an extended period of time.
"The company benefited directly from this misreporting at the last two price reviews, meaning Southern was able to increase its prices by more than it should have done," she added.
"Customers received higher than necessary bills because of the company's deception."
A raw sewage spill in Kent in 2011 meant Southern Water was fined £200,000.
The company later appealed against the fine by claiming it was too high, and lawyers suggested the company could have done little to have prevented the incident.
However, the Lord Chief Justice dismissed the appeal, and said: "Looked at as a whole, there is a persistent record of criminality and offending by this company.
"In the absence of any explanation as to what the board of the company has done to deal with reforming itself – to eliminate its offending behaviour, to explain its conduct in detail in dealing with the incident in question – there is very little mitigation that can be put forward."
In 2015, Southern Water received another fine for raw sewage discharge.
The £160,000 came for discharging raw sewage into the sea from East Worthing works.
Another raw sewage fine was imposed on Southern Water just a year after the East Worthing incident.
In 2016, the company picked up a £2m for discharging raw sewage from Margate wastewater treatment plant.
The incident happened in 2012.
Southern Water was hit with the record fine as a punishment for spills of wastewater.
The wastewater ran into the environment from its sewage plants, and the company were said to have deliberately misreported its performance.
Customers were given a rebate of at least £61 each, and the head of Ofwat called the case "shocking".
This also led to the Environment Agency launching a criminal investigation into the case.
Southern Water has over 300 wastewater treatment sites and Ofwat said a "significant number" of these had had been affected by problems.
On Friday last week (July 9) Southern Water was fined £90m for illegally dumping sewage thousands of times over a five-year period.
Tonnes of sewage polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, Hampshire and Sussex between 2010 and 2015.
The company pleaded guilty to 6,971 unpermitted sewage discharges – the equivalent to one pipe leaking continuously for seven years.
Bosses deliberately painted a misleading picture of compliance to the Environment Agency, and some of the dumping hit conservation sites.
The Honourable Mr Justice Johnson said, of the formal 51 guilty pleas, that the company’s behaviour had been “shocking”.
He said: “Each of the 51 offences seen in isolation shows a shocking and wholesale disregard for the environment, for the precious and delicate ecosystems along the North Kent and Solent coastlines, for human health, and for the fisheries and other legitimate businesses that depend on the vitality of the coastal waters.
“Each offence does not stand in isolation. It is necessary to sentence the company for the totality of the offences to which it has pleaded guilty. But even that does not reflect the defendant’s criminality.
“That is because the offences are aggravated by its previous persistent pollution of the environment over very many years.”