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We live in UK's 'FILTHIEST' village – it's ruined by disgusting sewage spills… dirty water flows by us nearly every day | The Sun
RESIDENTS of the UK's 'filthiest' village say it is being ruined by disgusting sewage spills.
People living in Cartmel, Cumbria, have been complaining about foul-smelling water and dead fish in the area for nearly two decades.
Linda Youd, a member of the local Cark River Group, told The Times that the smell is at its worst on event days at the nearby Cartmel Racecourse.
She said: "It is horrendous, especially on Cartmel race days with sewage backing up in Cartmel and Allithwaite. You can’t go out of your house with the smell."
Now, the Environment Agency (EA) has revealed that its investigators found that a water company has been wrongly pumping waste into the village's local river.
Linda added: "We want to see something happening. It is no good fining the water companies. It is nothing to them.
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"Instead of paying millions of pounds to the chief executive officers and dividends to the shareholders, they should be investing in the infrastructure.
"They should do what they are paid to do: give us decent water systems that don’t endanger our health and the wildlife."
The EA found that United Utilities had been spilling sewage from a local pumping station into the river in dry weather.
This is a breach of the company's permit as spills are only allowed when heavy rain means that the system cannot cope with the excess water.
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Jim Ratcliffe, the EA's manager for Cumbria and Lancashire, wrote a letter to local MP Tim Farron in February this year.
Mr Farron has advocated tougher penalties for noncompliance by water companies and urged the Government to raise taxes on their profits, to be reinvested in improving water infrastructure.
In that letter, Mr Ratcliffe said that the impact of the spills on the local environment "had the potential to be significant."
He added: "We have completed a permit compliance assessment of the pumping station using our nearby rain gauge, the photographs you and your constituents sent to us, as well as information our officers collected at the site.
"The assessment found that the pumping station was spilling in dry weather in breach of its permit."
United Utilities have said that they will work with the agency to "deliver on an action plan" designed to resolve the issue.
Former Undertones singer and clean river campaigner Feargal Sharkey took to social media to share his outrage at the findings.
He tweeted: "The Environment Agency demonstrates yet again that they are incapable of regulating the water industry."
A spokesperson for United Utilities said: "We are continuing to work with the Environment Agency to deliver on an action plan to tackle groundwater infiltration issues at Cartmel-in-Cark pumping station.
"A number of projects are already under way at the pumping station and on the sewer network in the area, and this work will continue as we work through the action plan.
"This comes as we have ambitious plans to deliver improvements to the sewer network right across Cumbria through one of the biggest environmental programmes in the country."
An EA spokesperson said: "We are clear that polluting our rivers is unacceptable.
"Our teams thoroughly investigated the incident and will continue to work with the water company to drive further improvements.
"The EA is holding the industry to account on a scale never seen before.
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"We have significantly driven up monitoring and transparency from water companies in recent years, which includes an increased level of scrutiny at this site."
They added that all incidents at the pumping station would be investigated, and that the agency will "consider what enforcement action is appropriate" for each case.
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