Scottish Water has been fined £19,000 after pleading guilty to polluting the River Clyde in Glasgow.
Around 650,000 cubic metres of untreated sewage was discharged into the river between May 16 and June 9 in 2016, Glasgow Sheriff Court was told.
A mechanical failure at the Kinning Park waste water pumping station caused a blockage, leading to incoming sewage being diverted and discharged from three overflows along the river’s south bank, between Glasgow Green and Springfield Quay.
Members of the public complained about the foul smell and the material which could be seen in the water, while residents said they were unable to open their windows or sit outside.
However, there appears to have been no lasting significant environmental impact.
The company pleaded guilty to two charges under sections 20(1) and 20(3)(a) of the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003, the Crown Office said.
Sara Shaw, procurator fiscal of wildlife and environment, said: “Scottish Water failed to take effective remedial steps to address various issues that had been identified over a period of months leading up to this incident.
“Had those steps been taken at an earlier stage the incident could have been avoided.
“The failure to adequately address real areas of risk as they came to light and the resulting impact on the local community is disappointing.”
Peter Farrer, chief operating officer at Scottish Water described the incident as “very regrettable” and has issued an apology.
He said: “Scottish Water takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. This incident was very regrettable and we apologise unreservedly for it.
“Scottish Water is responsible for the treatment of one billion litres of waste water every day and has 1827 waste water treatment works, 33,058 miles of waste water pipes and 2863 pumping stations. Incidents like this are very rare.
“We have already undertaken a programme of work costing more than £100m so far, with another £10m-£12m to follow, in order to prevent similar events at the pumping station and to protect the network in the future.
“The Shieldhall Tunnel, completed in 2018, is improving water quality in the River Clyde, reducing the risk of flooding, and in respect of this incident reducing the strain on the Kinning Park Pumping Station.”