Waste firm will have to pay for any costs incurred by MCC

Sunday 5th August 2012 10:00 pm
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GREEN waste produced by Monmouthshire residents is to be transported to England after the company operating a facility in Caerwent was banned from taking any material in after E.coli and salmonella was found at its site.

Last week the Environment Agency served a notice on Wormtech after a second incidence of leachate, a brown liquid that is formed as part of the composting process, leaking from the building.

In May 2011 Wormtech was fined £41,000 for polluting the watercourse after it had leaked into a nearby brook and onto the assault course used by the soldiers as part of the Ministry of Defence's training base.

The Environment Agency ordered the assault course to be quarantined for three months.

And now, following the latest incident in which high levels of ammoniacal nitrogen were discovered, the agency has banned Wormtech from bringing in any more waste material onto the site until it proves it has sealed the leak.

As a consequence Monmouthshire County Council has had to make alternative arrangements and at its council meeting Councillor Bryan Jones, the cabinet member for County Operations, made an emergency statement to councillors saying that waste was now being taken to Rose Hill Invessel composter at Dymock, Gloucestershire.

"I understand and fully respect the concerns that have been raised about wider human and environmental impact as it is no secret that Wormtech was prosecuted and fined in 2011 for the pollution of the Neddern – a local brook," said Councillor Jones.

"As part of its post conviction plan Wormtech had to undertake measures to ensure that the gullies and brooks on the site were bunded to ensure no leakage into the local watercourses.

"I am assured that from current inspections the infrastructure has not been breached, even with the significant rainfall that has occurred.

"However, it has been made abundantly clear to Wormtech that continual defaults can lead to the termination of the authority's contract, which is not due to expire until 2018.

"As of Friday, July 20 all kerbside green/food waste is being deposited at Llanfoist prior to onward haulage to Gloucestershire. Operationally this has had an impact and incurred costs for Monmouthshire because additional lorries, drivers and loaders are having to be utilised to ensure continual service delivery to the public.

"I must stress that Monmouthshire County Council can and will charge Wormtech for all the additional costs incurred as a result of this arrangement," he said.

"There is no facility within South East Wales which could cope with Monmouthshire's waste and whilst not pleased I am somewhat comforted that the waste is only going to Gloucestershire and not further afield," said Councillor Jones

The Environment Agency has given Wormtech until January to submit assessments and reports on the robustness of the buildings and the drainage systems to manage this waste appropriately.

"I can reassure members that we are managing this appropriately, strongly and within the frameworks of contractual law and I hope this statement reassures you that all steps are being and will be taken to manage this properly," he concluded.

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