Chicken company fined after E.coli contaminated water supply to thousands of homes in South Yorkshire

Chesterfield Poultry Limited was fined 2,700 and ordered to pay 10,000 in costs
Chesterfield Poultry Limited was fined 2,700 and ordered to pay 10,000 in costs

A chicken processor has been fined after water supplies in South Yorkshire were contaminated with E.coli, affecting thousands of homes.

In July last year, people living at 3,600 addresses in Thorne and Moorends, Doncaster, were told not to drink their tap water due to what Yorkshire Water described as a 'major water contamination incident'.

They were then advised to boil the water first but it was several days before they were finally given the all-clear on August 4.

The utility firm claimed its investigation showed Chesterfield Poultry Limited had water fittings installed which were likely to cause contamination, and it took legal action against the company.

Chesterfield Poultry appeared at Doncaster Magistrates' Court today where it admitted five breaches of the Water Supply Regulations 1999.

The company was fined £2,700 and ordered to pay Yorkshire Water £10,000 in costs.

Following the court case, Paul Carter, of Yorkshire Water, said: "We saw from the incident in Thorne the massive disruption that contamination of a water supply can cause for people.

"We hope that this prosecution will act as a warning and ensure that all businesses take the steps required by law to notify Yorkshire Water of any proposed alterations of their water systems and to prevent the risk of contamination when installing new plumbing systems in future."

Yorkshire Water said it does not intend to prosecute anyone else in relation to the E.coli contamination.

It urged businesses planning changes to their plumbing systems to get in touch if they were in any doubt whether the work would comply with the safety regulations.

The firm had initially been charged with 37 offences but this was later reduced to 12, and no evidence was offered on the remaining seven charges.