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Stinky business. Lego set project stirs controversy

Stinky business. Lego set project stirs controversy

Image source: © gov.uk
Marta Grzeszczuk,
11.03.2024 16:15

A company responsible for the worst river pollution in the UK is seeking 10,000 votes to support their Lego set project.

Southern Water, a company in southern England, plans to educate children using Lego sets. However, the same company was fined heavily last month for killing 2,000 fish by discharging raw sewage into a stream.

Sewage company wants its Lego set

The water company's project, ' Sewer Heroes: Fighting the Fatberg, ' was submitted as part of the Lego Ideas project. It showcases a sewage crew with pumping equipment working in the tunnels beneath a burger shop. The workers are attempting to clear a blockage caused by a massive amount of grease flowing into the sewer system.

Lego Ideas is a platform where people can submit their ideas for a Lego set. If an idea receives 10,000 votes on ideas.lego.com, the Danish company will consider making it a reality. Currently, a water company project has almost 9,000 votes on the platform.

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Stephen Williams, network protection enforcement manager at Southern Water, told hamphirechronicle.co.uk: "The model, if it goes live, will be a fantastic education tool for use in schools to help children understand the importance of disposing of fat, oil, grease and other unflushable items, in the right way and for demonstrable use at meetings, conferences, and outreach workshops."

Hampshire streams polluted by Southern Water

Southern Water customer Jenny Clark of Cowplain, Hants, told The Sun: "It’s astonishing Southern Water is wasting time thinking about Lego when it’s got such a shocking reputation for polluting our rivers and the sea.

On 27 February, the water company was fined £330,000 for leaking untreated sewage into the Shawford Lake Stream due to equipment failure at Southern Water's pumping station.

The company failed to respond to the sewage leak

Despite the warning in the waterworks control room just after 7 am, the intervention team was not dispatched to fix the problem until lunchtime. During the court hearing, Prosecutor Rebecca Vanstone stated that at approximately 11:48 am on 21 July 2019, a member of the public reported that unfiltered sewage was entering the stream.

Investigators believe the illegal flow of contaminated matter lasted five to 20 hours, and pools of dirty water appeared in the surrounding fields, The Guardian reports. Dawn Theaker, an environmental manager at the Hampshire for the Environment Agency, said: "Yet again, we have a water company failing to properly respond to alarms when things go wrong at facilities they operate, allowing sewage to flow uncontrolled into fields and a stream."

The control room alarm went off as early as 7:18 a.m. "It was almost five hours after that that action was then taken," said Vanstone. "Southern Water simply say they don’t know why," she added.

Judge Nicholas Wattam justified the hefty fine imposed on Southern Water by saying, "The local ecology was significantly affected, and over 2,000 fish were killed. This cannot be categorised as a minor incident."

Dominic Kay, representing Southern Water, said the company felt "genuine remorse" and assured the court: "Very, very significant changes have been made". He said a specialist subcontractor had set up a pump incorrectly. Still, he accepted the problem was compounded by a failure to respond to the alarm, as reported by The Guardian.

Source: thesun.co.uk, theguardian.com

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