Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quarry Probed over Contaminated Water; Residents Claim Unauthorised Work Polluted Springs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quarry Probed over Contaminated Water; Residents Claim Unauthorised Work Polluted Springs

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel? 07733 002 822 ? brian.daniel@ncjmedia.co.uk

AQUARRY in rural Northumberland is at the centre of a probe amid claims unauthorised work has polluted nearby residents' water.

Bosses at Blaxter Quarry, near Elsdon, are being investigated by both Northumberland County Council and the Environment Agency over unauthorised work and allegations that this has polluted a natural water supply which serves two nearby homes.

Residents there last night told The Journal how they were considering legal action against the quarry operator, claiming they have had to live with contaminated, discoloured water since last August, and that it has cost them PS2,500.

The company in question, however, blamed rainfall for polluting the residents' water.

Yet the Environment Agency has revealed the situation had improved since unauthorised work had ceased.

The sandstone quarry, operated by Northumberland Stone Ltd, was subject to county council inspections last November and again in February, the latter accompanied by the agency.

A report, seen by The Journal, details how work had been taking place out of the extraction area of the planning permission.

It also tells how the quarry pond's water level is 7m (23ft) below that permitted, with digging work at the quarry 8.5m (28ft) below that which the company has permission for.

The report states how digging to that extent "has the potential to directly affect hydrology in the area in terms of the groundwater level and private springs in proximity to the quarry site." The council document tells how, following an assessment, that the agency concluded the area which does not have planning permission "has been excavated below the groundwater table, and that this has caused the sediment pollution at the spring".

The council issued a temporary stop notice on the quarry in February. …

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