Council learns toxic tar lagoon lessons

Representatives from a Welsh council have been all the way to Belgium to pick up tips on how to clean up an acid tar lagoon.

The delegation of six people from Wrexham County Borough Council went on a fact-finding mission to Ghent as part of a search for solutions to deal with the Llwyneinion site, near Wrexham.

A geophysical survey conducted by the council in 2000 estimated that the site contains 94,000 tonnes of acidic liquid tar and at least 365 drums which were dumped there while the site was used for hazardous waste disposal until 1972.

The council and Environment Agency Wales have spent several years investigating solutions for the lagoon, which covers 1.3 hectares and reaches up to 10 metres deep in parts.

Now a group from the council, including council leader Aled Roberts, have been to see an ongoing project to clean up several acid tar pools near the Port of Ghent.

They are set to meet this month to discuss the lessons learned from the trip.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “it was an interesting and useful visit and we now need to do some background research.”

In 2006, the council spent £80,000 erecting extra fencing around the site – which is owned by the council – to prevent members of the public getting too close to the toxic material.

But Environment Agency Wales, which along with the council continues to monitor the site, has previously concluded that there was no evidence of significant pollution to the air, ground or water in the vicinity of the site.

In a report to the council, the agency said: “There are currently no significant pollutant linkages associated with the acid tar lagoon.”

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie