Effects of Toxic Waste

David Brook-Thomas made this Freedom of Information request to Rhondda Cynon Taff Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Rhondda Cynon Taff Council.

David Brook-Thomas

Dear Rhondda Cynon Taff Council,

Re:Pollutionary effects upon the area of the quarries at Brofiscin and Maendy.

Freedom of information Request Made by Mr Brook-Thomas, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

6 January 2012.

As I understand matters Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council( RCTCBC) is the lead regulatory authority for Part 2A of The Contaminated Land Regime, and is responsible for the determination of contaminated land.

Part of this duty has involved assessing risks to human health. The contaminated land regime, which is set out in Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, was introduced in Wales on 15 September 2001.

Further, it has to be stressed that local authorities take the lead role in contaminated land incidents, also that Part 2A provides a risk-based approach to the identification and remediation of land where contamination poses an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.

The quarries at Brofiscin and Maendy had become landfill sites in 1965 and 1966 respectively. Planning permission for Brofiscin had been granted against the advice of the local Llantrisant council’s planners. Despite both quarries being permeable – Brofiscin is limestone and Maendy sandstone – neither was lined nor capped against rainfall and are therefore to this day still seeping into the surrounding environment and aquifer.

In 2003 Brofiscin quarry erupted, disgorging an acrid pall over the area, and discoloured water into the environment. Faced with widespread public anxiety about what was buried in the quarry, the Environment Agency finally launched an investigation.

Through a lack of due diligence by the authorities at the time, exactly what lies at the bottom of Brofiscin quarry remains totally unknown, but surveys into its contents have turned up an unholy mix of substances including:

Acrylic polyester, Aldehyde, Aluminium, Arsenic, Barium, calcium and zinc-based petroleum additives, Butynol, Calcium carbide sweepings, Calium chloride, Chromium VI, Cleaning solvents (including xylol, butanols, white spirits, styrene and methylene chlorides), Copper, Distillation residues (containing aniline and surfactants), dry matter products, ethylene dichloride, iron, lead, lime slurry, magnesium, manganese, organophosphorus compounds, phelols, plastic manufacturing wastes, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), residues of high molecular chlorinated hydrocarbons, resins (various) (rubbers (various) sodium, sulphur, tar, trichloroethylene, vanadium, wood chippings, zinc

It is acceptable that most applied chemical safety tests today set standards for single substances. However, human exposure to chemicals, be it environmental or occupational, is rarely limited to a single chemical, rather, people are exposed to a myriad of chemicals through their lifetime. Unfortunately, not only is there a lack of knowledge concerning the dangers of these real-life mixtures, and how they might interact in biological systems, there is also limited technology to help scientists understand how these mixtures behave in the body and in the environment.

Such chemicals can have an additive effect, which means each chemical exposure simply adds its own toxicity to the mix (essentially 1+1=3). OR they can have a potentiating effect where a chemical that is normally thought to be benign or inert appears to increase the effect of another chemical (thus 0+1=3).

It is assumed that it is known in part what chemicals went into Brofiscin, however what is not known is what entirely new chemical compounds may have formed as a result. The admixture has never been studied and indeed may never be studied. As a result Brofiscin is the most contaminated place in Britain in part because of the tonnage of chemicals so carelessly dumped there, but also because of the unknown chemicals that are forming from those mixtures.

1. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I wish to know what action is RCTCBC taking to advise residents of this ongoing grave pollution problem.

2. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I wish to know what action is RCTCBC taking to advise local estate agents to further advise house buyers in the area over the ongoing toxic pollution problem.

3. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I wish to know what action is RCTCBC taking together with any regulatory Public heath body, (if any) to ensure that the health of all residents in the area concerned is being constantly monitored for any adverse effects as a result of the escape of toxins into the environment. Clearly, the toxic pollutants mentioned above, and any possible derivatives thereof are of a potentially carcinogenic nature.

4. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I wish to know is RCTCBC is formally aware of the contemporaneous sworn affidavit of Mr Douglas Gowan to the District Registry of the High Court in Cardiff and his report into pollution at the site of Brofiscin Quarry. Mr Gowan swore his affidavit on behalf of farmers in the area, having spent six years investigating the pollution of the quarries, initially on behalf of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and latterly as an expert pollution consultant retained by the NFU and instructed by Geldards, solicitors.

5. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I wish to know is RCTCBC formally aware that the Environment Agency, and its consultants environmental engineers, Atkins, refused to even consider the sworn affidavit of Mr Douglas Gowan to the District Registry of the High Court in
Cardiff.

Yours Sincerely David Brook-Thomas MSc, BA, Dip Ed Law (Hons)

David Brook-Thomas

Freedomofinformation, Rhondda Cynon Taff Council

Dear Sir

Thank you for your request for information which is receiving the Authority's attention.

We shall contact you again in due course.

Kind regards

Corporate Governance Unit
On behalf of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

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Wilkins, Andrew (Legal), Rhondda Cynon Taff Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Brook-Thomas

Further to your request for information please find attached the Authority's response.

Kind regards

Corporate Governance Unit
On behalf of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

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David Brook-Thomas

Dear Wilkins, Andrew (Legal),

Thank you for your reply I will consider the content thereof and come back to you.

Yours sincerely,

David Brook-Thomas

David Brook-Thomas

Dear Wilkins, Andrew (Legal),

Thank you for your reply. I have now had the time to analyse the content.

In order for there to be no future misunderstanding I would request, under the FOA 2000, and internal review

Yours sincerely,

David Brook-Thomas

Wilkins, Andrew \(Legal\), Rhondda Cynon Taff Council

Dear Mr Brook-Thomas

We refer to your email below and your request for an internal review of your freedom of information request.

Before it is passed to a relevant officer for action I should be grateful if you could please confirm what misunderstanding you believe there to be in the Authority's interpretation of your request and in its response. This will enable the officer undertaking the review to address any concerns you have more directly.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Corporate Governance Unit
On behalf of the Director of Legal and Democratic Service
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

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David Brook-Thomas

Dear Wilkins, Andrew (Legal),

Dear Wilkins, Andrew (Legal),

Thank you for your prompt reply. Kindly re-read my request for an Internal Review. I stated "in order to avoid any future misunderstanding," That does not imply, at this stage, that there is any misunderstanding. The intention of an Internal Review is to ensure the clarity of your position as stated in your reply. However, I welcome you presenting the opportunity for further and fuller dialogue on the subject matter and I will respond in due course.

Yours sincerely,

David Brook-Thomas

Yours sincerely,

David Brook-Thomas

David Brook-Thomas

Dear Wilkins, Andrew (Legal)

Att Andrew Wilkins.

After further consultation and much deliberation. IT IS FELT THAT A DUTY TO APPEAL YOUR DECISION HAS BEEN IMPOSED!

The information which you claim is readily available elsewhere is clearly not so.

Given the toxic cocktail cover up in this matter, there are none that can state with honesty, and any degree of certainty, exactly what the precise nature of the chemical mixing reaction and discharge into the environment of the waste buried at the quarry is. The only certain, based upon what we assume to know is that what is there is indeed extremely dangerous with unknown adverse effects on flora and fauna and the ecosystem created by the interdependence of these two life forms. Humans cannot breathe unless both flora and fauna survive and thrive on the earth.

Also it would appear that RCT, and the EA has not even bothered to consider the unknown dumped at this site, and totally disregarded the Precautionary Principle.. There are no assumptions made as to unknown reactions, and inter-reactions, given the differing chemicals and residues involved in the illegal dumping process, yet logic, and science dictates that there must be many.

It would appear that there are many failings in the public duties by RCT and the EV and that the public, and surrounding environment have indeed been purposely put at high risk of lasting damage. Survey work has long identified contamination of groundwater at a depth greater than 50m and a potential risk to public health however the pollution remains unchecked. Frankly I can understand the Environment Agency Wales previously dismissed reports that it would cost £100m to clean up the site. This is a clear indication of EA failing in its public duties previously as a more realistic clean up cost would run into 500 million pounds or more suave is the extent and gravity of the problem. RCT HAS said that by capping the site, rain will be prevented from running into contaminated land, reducing water pollution from the quarry and protecting the public and animals from coming into contact with the waste.

This in fact only serves to demonstrate the total inadequacy, intelligence, knowledge and competence of RCT environment protection staff. It is a well established fact that any site capping is absolutely “useless” without an underlying containing membrane, and fully contained extraction and filtration procedures.
Residents in the area have long been concerned about vapours from the quarry which appears to be getting no better.

Given the evidence to hand, I can only conclude that RCT is employing totally unsuitable incompetents who are supposed to ensure the health and safety of the citizens within its jurisdiction.

This I contend is criminal, and those responsible are also fraudulently drawing their salaries off the public purse as they should know exactly what they are doing, and if they claim that they do not, then they should not be employed in environment/public protection.

These are serious allegations that I make against the staff of RCT and the EA, and consequently I call for a full public enquiry. Meanwhile, an area of not less that 10 miles diameter should be cordoned off around Brofiscin Quarry in the better interest of public health!

Yours sincerely,

David Brook-Thomas

Yours sincerely,

David Brook-Thomas

Wilkins, Andrew \(Legal\), Rhondda Cynon Taff Council

Dear Mr Brook-Thomas

I write to inform you that the Authority will no longer be corresponding with you via the 'what do they know' website in respect of the matters to which you refer and have raised below. If you wish to discuss the topic further you will need to contact the Authority's Service Director, Public Health & Protection. His contact details are provided below: -

Mr Paul Mee
Email -: [email address]
Tel -: (01443) 425513.

Regards

Andrew Wilkins
Solicitor
On behalf of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

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David Brook-Thomas

Dear Wilkins, Andrew (Legal),

Oh dear Mr Andrew Wilkins the Solicitor on behalf of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.

Why on earth not, are you not calling yourself a Democratic service? Do not the people have a right to know what RCT is up to and the substandard level of staff that they employ to guard the public's health and safety.

I would suggest that you play your role by the book and that requires you, as as officer of the courts to be open honest and of unquestionable integrity.

I will continue with further FOI requests, all in the public's best interests of course.

Yours sincerely,

David Brook-Thomas

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