Pig slurry pollutes stream

A company has been fined after pig slurry leaked into a tributary after a storage lagoon bank collapsed causing 'gross pollution'.

The serious pollution incident killed almost entire colonies of invertebrates in the Dale stream at Market Rasen.

The Environment Agency said that samples taken from the point where the waste went into the tributary showed very high levels of ammonia and more than four miles (6.6km) downstream the level was still toxic.

The company, Elsham Linc Ltd, of Elsham Top, Brigg, accepted blame for the pollution but said the lagoon banks had been checked once a month before the incident.

Company director Samuel Godfrey believes that badgers burrowed into the retaining bank of the storage lagoon and the slurry leaked out when some of the bank collapsed as a result.

The company has also changed the slurry storage system to a steel tank to prevent future breaches.

The Environment Agency said that slurry in an earth banked lagoon is not a fail-safe system and in this incident, preventative measures were inadequate for preventing the pollution.

The company failed to carry out a risk assessment of the slurry storage system or carry out regular checks of the surface waters around the farm and of the lagoon embankment.

Environment Agency officer, James Brackenbury, said: “Farmers must ensure that slurry stores and dirty water systems are in a good state of repair.

“It is important to undertake regular checks and have documented pollution prevention procedures and risk assessments in place.”

Alison Brown

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