Ofwat announces £126 million penalty for Southern Water

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Ofwat has today (Tuesday 25 June) announced that Southern Water has agreed to pay a £126 million penalty following serious failures in the operation of its sewage treatment sites and for deliberately misreporting its performance.

The Environment Agency has undertaken a separate criminal investigation, which began in 2016, into suspected permit breaches at a number of Southern Water’s sites. Please see our full media statement below.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said:

The Environment Agency takes this matter extremely seriously. We are pursuing our own criminal investigation into Southern Water due to suspected permit breaches at a number of its sites.

This began in 2016 and revealed issues which required separate consideration by Ofwat, leading to today’s penalty. The environmental aspect of the investigation is ongoing and we expect to commence court proceedings soon.

Further Briefing:

  • Ofwat is the economic regulator for the water sector in England and Wales. The Environment Agency regulates the environment, including the operations of water companies.
  • We have worked closely on these investigations to ensure the right regulator considered the issues appropriate to their remit. This was to ensure separate, parallel informed regulation.
  • This is a complex, live investigation and we are unable to comment any further at this stage.
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