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EA to clean up after composting firm closes

The Environment Agency Wales (EAW) is cleaning up the site of a Monmouthshire firm which has closed following suspension of its permit, leaving tonnes of waste.

Composting and waste management firm Wormtech has made 19 people redundant following the closure of operations at Caerwent.

A notice on the company’s website states: “After a notice by the Environment Agency preventing any more material coming onto the site in Caerwent and despite numerous efforts to find a solution, the company has had to close, making 19 staff redundant. The notice was issued because of a RISK [sic] to the underlying water rather than because of an actual incident.”

The EAW suspended the company’s environmental permit in July to prevent leachate containing e.coli, salmonella and ammoniacal nitrogen escaping from the site.

The agency estimates that there is around 20,000 tonnes of waste on the Wormtech site, although it had confirmed with Public Health Wales that it was not a risk to public health.

An EAW spokesperson said: “To make sure the environment is protected, we are managing leachate levels on the site by removing it ourselves, although this remains the responsibility of the company. Our investigation into the company continues and we are considering what further action we will take.”

Jackie Powell, a director of Wormtech, said that the company had worked hard to satisfy the EA. “We put proposals to the Environment Agency that would have enabled us to carry on but they were turned down,” she said.

Monmouthshire County Council cancelled its contract with the firm last week. The council said that it had been forced to seek alternative short-term arrangements for its food waste since August.

A spokesman for the council said it was working on plans to tender for a longer term contract in the near future.

Other councils that Wormtech worked for include Blaenau Gwent. A spokesman said: “Suitable arrangements are in place so that food waste and green waste is still collected and recycled across Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. There will be no disruption to the public.”

Torfaen County Borough Council said it was also continuing with contingency plans and that services would continue as normal.

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