Firm 'turned river white' with pollution

A river was turned bright white with chemical pollution after a company let a burst tank leak into drains.

Redgorton based I & H Brown pled guilty at Perth Sheriff Court this week (March 9) and was fined £3000 for letting calcium polysulphide leak into a watercourse.

The chemical run into a surface water drainage system which poured into a tributary of the River Tay - known locally as the Denmark Burn.

The leak, which happened in June 2008, was investigated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) before being reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

SEPA was alerted to the pollution incident by Scottish Water, who had been contacted by a member of the public concerned that a local burn was running white.

Investigating officer, Brendan Craig, said: "The way the spillage was handled by I&H Brown resulted in a highly polluting substance being released into the water environment.

"As the company failed to notify any authority of the pollution incident when it occurred, extra time and resources were expended in investigating the incident and locating the source.

"Any site storing chemicals should make sure they have someone who knows what to do in the event of a spill and should have guidance for staff to follow if one does occur.

"Chemicals should never be washed into surface water drains, as many of these lead straight into nearby water courses with no treatment at all.

"Any spillage of chemicals near watercourses or drains should be reported to SEPA immediately, allowing our staff to provide advice and guidance on containment and clean up thereby minimising any impact on the environment."

Scottish Water themselves also pled guilty this week (March 9) at Stranraer Sheriff Court after sewage was poured into Loch Ryan.

Yesterday, Scottish Water was fined £2000 for failing to comply with a condition of its water use licence, which allows it to releases sewage under certain conditions.

And, the firm, was also fined £4000 for failing to comply with a condition of its licence which states the volume of the discharge should be measured and these record available for inspection.

Luke Walsh



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