The privatized Southern Water utility company aims to improve quality water and wastewater services in many regions. Despite their stated goal, their desire to avoid penalties and increased expenditures prevailed. In nearly six years, Southern Waters has committed more than 6,900 illegal spills to gain financial advantages.
After pleading guilty to 51 counts of pollution-related charges due to their illegal dumping cases and a penalty of £90 million, a bonus of £550,900 was awarded to Southern Water’s Chief Executive.
The Southern Water Controversy
Privatized in 1989, the Southern Water company seemingly strives to provide quality water and wastewater services across Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wright. They currently handle 89 water treatment operations, 365 wastewater treatment projects, 2,375 pumping stations, and many reservoirs. (Source: Southern Water)
Southern Water’s aim to provide excellent water services doesn’t reflect the imposed £90 million on their record due to their never-ending disposal of countless liters of raw sewage into highly preserved marine environments.
Justice of the High Court Jeremy Johnson reported that Southern Water dumped 16 billion to 21 billion liters worth of dirty sewage into protected bodies of water. Additionally, Johnson states that Southern Water has more than 165 criminal offenses, including warnings, in their record. Even with their numerous penalties, the utility company had no intention to change its operations.
The Environment Agency’s investigation of the extensive criminal activity of Southern Water revealed roughly six years of illegal dumping. Southern Water dedicated years of spilling billions and billions of contaminated sewage into protected seas in Kent and Hampshire to prevent financial penalties and increased expenditures for maintenance costs. They avoided more than £90 million worth of penalty fees, gaining a massive monetary benefit.
The facts reveal long-term corporate knowledge of the situation. The company did not pay for the maintenance and repair of its equipment or the improvements necessary. It under-reported its performance. There has been considerable financial advantage to the company … It was being paid for something it was not doing.Andrew Marshall
Southern Water is responsible for more than 6,900 illegal spills of raw sewage, claiming guilty to 51 charges of pollution-related counts. Their highly polluting criminal activities caused mass contamination within the shellfish industry. (Source: The Guardian)
The Unacceptable Bonus Pay
The chief executive of Southern Water, Ian McAulay, gained a £550,900 bonus pay despite the numerous cases of illegal spills the utility corporation has. With the added financial benefits of pension and his base pay of £435,000, Ian McAulay received a total of more than £1 million. Southern Water’s chief financial officer, Sebastiaan Boelen, also gained a bonus pay of £290,000.
The Member of Parliament for Ashford Damian Green expresses his anger over the situation, stating that acquiring a bonus pay when Southern Water was charged £90 million was unacceptable.
Southern Water justifies the bonus of Ian McAulay, reasoning that there were notable changes observed in the workers, processes, and systems of the company ever since McAulay became CEO. Additionally, Ian McAulay was undergoing a two-year pay freeze and a bonus reduction in the past.
The company continues to defend itself, claiming to allocate large amounts of money in improving their environmental impact to achieve their goal of eliminating their pollution-related incidents by 2030. (Source: BBC News)