Church of Scientology is fined £14,000 for polluting a Sussex river with raw sewage

Daily Mail, UK/April 27, 2018

By Colin Fernandez

The Church of Scientology has been fined £14,000 for polluting a river with raw sewage.

The Church of Scientology Religious Education College - a subsidiary of the organisation - repeatedly polluted a tributary of the River Medway with sewage from its toilets. 

The church, based at Saint Hill Manor at East Grinstead, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to one offence and asked for ten others to be taken into consideration at Worthing Magistrates' Court on Friday 27 April.

The organisation was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £2,566.

The court heard that in August 2015, the church was replacing their old sewage treatment plant, with the new facility built to treat a higher volume of sewage.

The plant was completed and operating correctly when the Environment Agency inspected it in September 2015.

But in October, the Environment Agency was told of pollution in the Saint Hill area.

Investigators traced the pollution upstream to find that the newly installed treatment plant was the source.

Samples taken from the treatment plant found that the wastewater being discharged was over 10 times the permitted limit.

Investigators saw sewage fungus - described as 'a grey, slimy bacterial and fungal growth associated with sewage' covering the stream bed.

The stream bed had been covered for over 200 metres with sewage fungus and sediment associated with sewage.

The Environment agency said in a statement: 'Dead invertebrates were found for over 350 metres downstream of the discharge. '

Further inspections and sampling found that the treatment plant continued to pollute.

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