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Waste company receives hefty fine

for breaching leachate levels at Wiltshire landfill site. A landfill waste company has been ordered to pay £47,800 in fines and costs for failing to control the amount of liquid waste residue accumulating at a Wiltshire site. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

Hills Waste Solutions Limited, formerly Hills Minerals and Waste Limited, operate a landfill site receiving non-hazardous household waste from local authority collections at Compton Bassett near Calne, Wiltshire.

This operation was permitted under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 2000, which state it must control the level of leachate within the landfill. This leachate is a potentially polluting liquid which accumulates during filling and is the liquid material which develops from decomposing waste. The liquid can contain heavy metals such as arsenic, cyanide and oils.

This liquid must be removed and treated on site before being transferred to a water treatment plant operated by Wessex Water.

On November 2, 2006, the Environment Agency found the company had failed to monitor leachate levels and implement an emergency leachate management plan as required by the site's PPC permit.

An investigation indicated that between January 1 2005 and September 31, 2006, Hills Waste failed to provide a number of monitoring results for leachate. During this time there were numerous breaches of leachate levels up to 10 times greater than that allowed under the site's permit.

'The levels of leachate were far in excess of those permitted. The company also failed to use tankers to reduce excessive amounts of leachate as required in the emergency leachate plan for the site. This clearly represents a failure to respond to a situation which had the potential to cause pollution of the environment,' said Chris Povey for the Environment Agency.

Hills Waste Solutions Limited, of Ailesbury Court, High Street, Marlborough, Wiltshire, were fined £40,800 with £7,000 costs after pleading pleading guilty to four offences under the Pollution Preventon and Control Act 1999.

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