‘Foul smelling sludge’: Man fined for wastewater entering neighbour’s toilet and shower

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

A Northam man has been fined after dumping 10,000 litres of wastewater into his home drainage system, causing “foul smelling dark brown sludge” to enter his neighbour’s shower and toilet. 

Liquid waste operator Shane Ronald Northey pleaded guilty to two charges in the Northam Magistrates Court, on Tuesday. 

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation lawyer Stephen Simpson told the court Northey discharged the wastewater on two separate occasions in July last year. 

He said the victim reported foul smelling dark brown water and sludge surfacing from the shower drain and filling the toilet. 

Mr Simpson said it cost just under $1000 for Water Corporation officers to clean the drains at the victim’s Goomalling Road property.

The maximum fine for this offence is $62,500. 

You’ve put your livelihood at stake

Magistrate Jennifer Hawkins

Lawyer Bernadine Heiderich told the court Northey avoided dumping the wastewater at the Northam facility in that instance, due to a price hike caused from heavy rains.

Ms Heiderich said he made an economic decision to dispose of the wastewater at his home.

Northey was a husband and father who had worked in the industry for 13 years.

He had no prior criminal record other than one traffic infringement, Mr Heiderich said. 

The incident did not harm the victim’s health or the environment. 

Magistrate Jennifer Hawkins told the court it was “serious offending that may not have been detected”.

“You’ve put your livelihood at stake,” she said.

Northey was fined $7500.

Ms Hawkins granted Northey a spent conviction because she said he was unlikely to re-offend.