Anger as the waste from carcasses is pumped into the sea

April 29, 2001 Sunday Telegraph (London) by David Harrison
THOUSANDS OF gallons of blood and liquid waste from rotting animal carcasses are being dumped in the Irish Sea by order of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The waste is collected from large foot and mouth burial sites at Great Orton, Cumbria, and Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway.

It is disinfected and taken by tankers - up to 10 a day from Lockerbie alone - to the sewage works in Workington, where it is treated and pumped out a quarter of a mile off the coast.

The practice has infuriated councillors and residents in the Cumbrian town. They said that the dumping of the liquid waste, known as leachate, had gone ahead without consultation or notice.

Dennis Roberts, who lives in an area close to the treatment works, said: "It's disgusting that they are dumping this stuff on us. The liquid smells terrible when it's brought here. I can't walk my dog on the footpaths because they are closed; now even the beaches may not be safe."

Residents are already angry that a landfill site in the Distington district of Workington had been chosen as a carcass burial site.

Brian Dixon, a Distington parish councillor, said: "The health of the people of this area is our prime consideration. The stench from the site is disgusting."

Mike Graham, the Conservative leader of Copeland council, said: "The increasing use of Distington for foot and mouth clean-up operations is disturbing."

The Environment Agency said pumping leachate out to sea was "a short-term answer" to prevent it building up and seeping into water courses.

In "the medium term" Maff was planning to treat it on site, using a different method, said the agency, but it was unable to say what this would be or when it would be introduced. A spokesman said fears that the fluid would wash up on the coastline were unfounded because it was diluted 10,000 times before it was discharged.

A Maff spokesman said: "There is no risk to human health. The liquid is so diluted that it is risk-free. It is being discharged in accordance with strict environmental protection laws and it is being monitored closely."

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