EA criminal investigation of water companies

The EA are carrying out criminal investigations of water companies in England regarding breaches of their discharge permits from sewage treatment works. 

This blog post from the EA regarding their investigation sets out the scope (2,200 sewage treatment works) and timescales (initial data analysis Spring 2022 but further investigations expected to continue into 2023). 

The EA say: Any enforcement action will be taken in line with the EA’s Enforcement and Sanctions Policy depending on the nature and severity of any offence/​s which come to light.

Ofwat are also carrying out investigations to consider whether any potential non-compliance with environmental permits suggests the company concerned might not be complying with other legal requirements a water company has, which Ofwat is responsible for enforcing. These include requirements water companies have about how, overall, they operate, manage, and report their performance, including of their wastewater treatment works.’