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Derbyshire: Waste company ordered to pay £68,500 after cyanide leak kills hundreds of fish

A waste transport company has been ordered to pay £68,500 after hundreds of litres of a liquid containing diluted cyanide leaked from a lorry.

The leak happened after a container was ruptured as the driver began moving it around, using a forklift truck, at an industrial estate in Heanor, Derbyshire.

The liquid escaped onto the floor before entering the drainage system and natural waterways following the spill on 6 February 2018, the Environment Agency (EA) said.

Hundreds of fish in a nearby pool died as a result of the water becoming toxic, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Fire crews were deployed to set up a decontamination zone and ensure anyone involved was fully washed down, the court heard.

The EA prosecuted waste transport firm J & G Environmental Ltd, based in Fareham, Hampshire, after estimating the clean-up costs reached £50,000.

Officials took samples of the dead fish, with all of the 73 sent for testing found to have died from cyanide poisoning.

More East Mids stories - click above
More East Mids stories - click above

On Wednesday, the company was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £52,500 in costs after earlier pleading guilty to causing an illegal water discharge.

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An EA spokesperson said: "We welcome this sentence as this was a serious pollution which caused considerable disruption besides fish deaths.

"The Environment Agency will pursue any company that fails to uphold the law or protect nature and will continue to press for the strongest possible penalties.

"Failure to comply with these legal requirements is a serious offence that can damage the environment and harm human health."

Just weeks earlier, a truck crash in Brazil saw sulfonic acid spill into a local river, covering it in thick foam and putting dozens of neighbourhoods' access to drinking water in jeopardy.