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Compost site closed after leachate leak

A composting and waste management firm has been shut down after Environment Agency Wales (EAW) officers said there was a serious risk of pollution to groundwater.

Officers have issued a suspension notice to Wormtech in Monmouthshire, preventing it accepting any waste at the facility.

The EAW said leachate from the composting process contained e.coli, salmonella and ammoniacal nitrogen. It said the suspension, to prevent leachate escaping from the site, would remain in place until the operator could show that composting areas were sealed off from the local environment to prevent pollution.

Kelly Jarman from EAW said: “Our investigations into the Wormtech site are still ongoing and our officers are continuing to monitor the situation closely.

“Initial tests on the site indicate that there is a serious risk of pollution to groundwater by leachate coming from the operation at Wormtech. The presence of E.Coli and salmonella have also been confirmed at the site.”

The Wormtech facility includes in-vessel composting in converted military buildings which the company says “can be sealed from the environment” to create the in-vessels required to accept food waste under the Animal Food By-product Act. The facility is on a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Dr Lika Nehaul from Public Health Wales said there was no public health risk at this stage.

A spokeswoman for Wormtech said the company was working with EAW to resolve the issue.

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