ANDY Warhol famously said that in the future, everyone should have 15 minutes of fame. I wonder if that extends to big water companies too?

The BBC ran a story about United Utilities’ illegal discharge of millions of litres of raw sewage into Lake Windermere for 10 hours in February, and how it didn’t report the incident to the Environment Agency for a further 13 hours.

The excuse being a telecoms failure – but the ‘state of the art’ control room at Lingley Mere is set up to identify those failures – so why wasn’t the situation sorted sooner?

And why wasn’t the EA told sooner either? It wasn’t as if this was the first time either – with the same failure occurring in 2022.

The UU response should have been something like ‘we are really sorry that our ineptitude has caused environmental damage to Lake Windermere, and we will do everything possible to prevent it happening again’.

But the actual response was ‘we didn’t measure the volume of untreated sewage pumped into the lake, but the BBC’s estimate of the scale is unreliable’.

Who do you trust? The BBC – its charter requires its journalists to verify data before publishing news reports?

Or UU – the serial polluter which has topped the worst water company pollution chart for years? I know who I trust.

But UU’s 15 minutes of ‘newsworthy fame’ was only surpassed by more diarrhoea – suffered by some of South West Water’s Devon customers after the cryptosporidium outbreak.

It’s important that public health is foremost in our news, but it is also important for our local water polluter to own up to the environmental impact of their process failures.

United Utilities, water for the north west, sewage dumping in north west rivers and the biggest lake in the UK.