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November 20, 2017

Experts' concerns over asbestos dump plans

EXPERTS in geology and hydrology do not believe a Chew Valley quarry is an appropriate location for an asbestos dump.

The witnesses for an action group were giving evidence on the second day of an inquiry into proposals to dump thousands of tonnes of asbestos in Stowey Quarry yesterday.

  1. stowey

    Campaigners at a previous Stowey Quarry protest

The Stowey Sutton Action Group oppose the application made by quarry owner Larry Edmunds.

Bath and North East Somerset Council refused permission for the dump, prompting the inquiry at Fry’s Conference Centre in Keynsham.

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Geologist Gareth Thomas told Government planning inspector Brian Cook that analysis of land next to the quarry showed added weight from landfill could pose the potential for a landslip.

He said if the quarry was used for landfill there would be “significant potential for slope instability” on adjacent land.

“If you add material to the top of the slopes you could trigger a landslip,” he said.

He also said changes in the ground water makeup of the quarry – for example if material blocked drainage from rocks at the site – could also trigger instability.

Meanwhile, hydrologist Dr Kay Boreland told the inquiry she had concerns about the risk of contamination of ground water at the site.

She explained that although asbestos fibres are not soluble, they could still be “transported in suspension” and find their way into ground water stores.

She explained that the limestone rock surrounding the quarry was saturated with water and that the dump would be “completely reliant” on an engineered liner to stop any leakage running into ground water.

Ms Boreland explained that it was “generally accepted” that no landfill or any liner could be 100 per cent secure.

“This is not a suitable site for hazardous waste,” she said.

“Typically in this country, asbestos waste is disposed of at sites where ground and ground water conditions make them suitable.

“In my opinion there is too great a risk to put hazardous materials into this site.”

The inquiry earlier heard from the Environment Agency which dropped its objections to the proposal after Mr Edmunds successfully made a change to his application on Tuesday.

He originally wanted to dump “stable non-reactive hazardous waste”, as well as inert waste and asbestos, but has now taken this out of his plans.

Barbara Keenan, from the Environment Agency, only had concerns regarding the “stable non-reactive hazardous waste” – which can include leachable substances and organic content – but not asbestos polluting ground water at the site.

The inquiry will next sit on October 3 and 4 when Mr Cook will hear from expert witnesses supporting the plan put forward by the quarry owner.

See more here:

Experts' concerns over asbestos dump plans

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