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Patrick McGuire, PartnerToxic sludge containing chemicals linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease is at risk of infecting the entire country’s water supply, according to reports this weekend.

The sludge, contaminated with aluminium and other pollutants, is being stored at 26 lagoon sites across Scotland, including Coatbridge, Falkirk, Cupar and Inverness.

Scottish Water has launched an investigation into the safety and current state of the sludge pools.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) revealed to the Sunday Herald that there is a concern about aluminium – which was once used to purify drinking water – leaching out of these lagoons.

Aluminium has been linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

Concern has heightened following the recent downpours across Scotland that have left some areas at risk of flooding. Should the sludge from the lagoons intermix with lochs, rivers or drains, the leaching of aluminium into the domestic supply could be very possible.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland, said:

“Aluminium is not something we want leaching out because it represents a danger to human health and wildlife.

“This is a large a potentially nasty legacy Scotland needs to deal with. The public need to be assured that these sites are currently in good condition and that there is a detailed plan to make sure they stay that way.

“But we need to look for permanent ways to remove this threat to the environment.”

Patrick McGuire, partner at Thompsons Solicitors, comments:

“This is very worrying news for the nation. The identified lagoon sites containing this toxic material are peppered throughout Scotland, and there is genuine concern that widespread contamination of our drinking water may occur if these toxic reservoirs aren’t dealt with properly.

“Our safety is being put at serious risk, and we need to know precisely how the situation is being managed by the authorities.

“In the past few months alone we’ve witnessed an outbreak of norovirus at Strathclyde Loch as well as a deadly Legionnaires’ disease epidemic – both of which were believed to have resulted from contaminated water.

“The monitoring, testing and management Scotland’s water must be put under tremendous scrutiny.”



 •    To arrange further comments from Patrick McGuire, contact Tim Weir on 07974 262 997 

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