Tuesday, 1 October 2013

What happens after the groundwater is all messed up? Who takes responsibility?

When quarrying in breach of planning conditions and below the water table has messed up the groundwater so much that the "water was ‘unsafe for human consumption’ and contained traces of E.coli and fuel", and local people had to "bathe and shower at friends’ houses" and "had no basic water supply for in excess of 13 months", what then?

Deny all responsibility of course, which is just what the quarry company connected has done. "To our knowledge [quarrying is] having no effect at all on the spring water" says the MD of the quarry company, and "if the residents want clean drinking water they should do what the rest of the locals have to do and pay for it”.

Not a helpful response, when the "Environment Agency, the council and an independent water specialist have all confirmed that problems have been caused because the quarry breached consents". Spring water was plainly available to these properties before the quarry polluted it, and many people in more rural areas often have no access to mains supply even if they wanted it. In this case alone, the cost of replacing the contaminated pipework has been quoted at £70k. Which is of course the reason why liability has been denied.

And if water supplies were depleted or contaminated here - not for two properties but for 100 people - how much would that cost to correct? How ready would Aggregate Industries be to accept liability?