Wales: Toxic waste seeps through woods where children play

Toxic chemicals leak from a landfill into the forest where children play

Toxic chemicals from a suspected landfill site in Wales are entering a nearby forest (Image: PA)

A landfill site in Wales could be dumping toxic waste into a nearby forest where children are playing, locals believe.

The Ty Llwyd quarry at Ynysddu near Caerphilly is one of several sites thought to have been used decades ago by the chemical company Monsanto to dump pollutants into the environment.

These include cancer-causing chemicals called PCBs from Monsanto’s now-defunct Newport factory.

PCBs were widely used in electronics for years, until they were banned in 1981 after tests showed they were deadly to both humans and wildlife.

Although the Ty Llwyd council quarry was never officially a landfill, villagers say that after heavy rains, a strong-smelling, brown, foamy liquid flows from the site through woodland and past houses.

The council claims the liquid is just “ordinary surface water” but has urged people to stay away from the quarry and the surrounding area during heavy rains.

Villagers remain concerned that the substance is harmful and could leach into the Sirhowy River and eventually into the Celtic Sea.

Fluid flows from the Ty Llwyd quarry in the Welsh village of Ynysddu near Caerphilly. The landfill could leak toxic chemical waste through a forest where children are playing, local residents believe. Picture date: Wednesday January 18, 2023. PA Photo. The quarry is believed to contain highly carcinogenic PCBs and other pollutants that chemical company Monsanto dumped on the site from its Newport plant decades ago. The manufacture of PCBs, which were widely used in electrical appliances, was banned in Britain in 1981 after tests showed they were deadly to humans and wildlife. See PA story ENVIRONMENT PCB. Photo credit should read: Bronwen Weatherby/PA Wire

The Ty Llwyd quarry is believed to contain pollutants dumped by chemical company Monsanto decades ago (Image: PA)

Ynysddu Councilwoman Jan Jones said she had raised this with Caerphilly County Borough Council and the Welsh Government.

She said: “When it falls off (the quarry), it stinks. And you don’t feel that when you look at the photos – it absolutely stinks.”

Olwen Williams, who was forced into his brother’s farm in the village because of contamination, said people are no longer allowed to grow crops or raise chickens in the allotment area adjacent to the site.

“It’s worrying that there are no signs to warn people because we’ve seen kids building dens in the woods, people walking their dogs there, teenagers partying up there and people also walking around (eating) the Hazelnuts from the trees that were planted on this contaminated ground,” she said.

Lifelong Ynysddu local Colin Prosser, 77, said the council gave his concerns a shrug.

He said: “It’s been like this for 20 years, 20 years at least, and the Council has kept fobbing us off and only recently they said they were going to do something about it.

“I was part of a subcommittee of local people – there was one of us from every village around here – that the council was supposed to be keeping informed about what they were doing to make it safe.

“We were supposed to hear from them every six months, but that fell by the wayside and we ended up not hearing from them for years.”

Ynysddu Independent Councilor Jan Jones and Revd Paul Cawthorne, amateur chemical pollution investigator, look at the water flowing from the Ty Llwyd quarry in the Welsh village of Ynysddu near Caerphilly. The landfill could leak toxic chemical waste through a forest where children are playing, local residents believe. Picture date: Wednesday January 18, 2023. PA Photo. The quarry is believed to contain highly carcinogenic PCBs and other pollutants that chemical company Monsanto dumped on the site from its Newport plant decades ago. The manufacture of PCBs, which were widely used in electrical appliances, was banned in Britain in 1981 after tests showed they were deadly to humans and wildlife. See PA story ENVIRONMENT PCB. Photo credit should read: Bronwen Weatherby/PA Wire

The manufacture of PCBs, which were widely used in electrical appliances, was banned in the UK in 1981 after tests showed they were deadly to humans and wildlife (Image: PA)

In May 2021, the council installed a drainage system designed to separate surface runoff from contaminated liquids, also known as leachate.

However, photos show a brown, foamy liquid overflowing from the drainage system and flowing down the mountainside through a fenced-off area towards the village.

Next to the quarry, the Rev Paul Cawthorne, amateur chemical pollution investigator, said: “From where we are I would probably say it’s the fifth or sixth worst chemically contaminated site in Britain.

“And as you can see, it runs straight down the slope into the village.

“It’s not just the smell, but the fact that they are chemical fumes that pose a potential health hazard.”

Caerphilly County Borough Council was reached for comment.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/01/19/wales-toxic-waste-is-leaking-through-forest-where-children-play-18130783/ Wales: Toxic waste seeps through woods where children play

Justin Scacco

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