“Effluent arisings from across the site were treated to produce a slurry. The effluent treatment slurry was a slurry of calcium phosphate in water.”
This account of waste at Rattlechain lagoon is the account given by Health and Safety Director Tom Dutton of Rhodia and formerly Albright and Wilson.
WHAT DID WE ASK?
1. Can you confirm what hazardous substance consents are in operation for this site for Rhodia and Thermphos.
2.A list of the hazardous substances and the allowed quantities that are allowed to be stored at the site?
3. The UN and Kemlar codes for these substances and the nature of their hazard classification and risk phrases and safety phrases e.g flammability, toxicity and effects in the environment.
WHY DID WE ASK THIS?
We wanted to know what substances are or were allowed to be stored at this site and the potential implications for these chemicals being present in the waste stream at Rattlechain. Local residents living around the Langley site may be blissfully unaware of these chemicals and their toxic properties. They rely on the company to maintain safety on the site, and the regulators to hold them to account, but as has been demonstrated, this has failed in the past.
WHAT DID THEY KNOW?
The first response from Sandwell was totally unacceptable, and stated
“I have spoken to John Baker, Development & Regulatory Services Manager, and he has asked that you contact him to discuss your request further. He has suggested that it may be of use to you to come in to view the documents and discuss with him what information you require.”
As another user of the Whatdotheyknow website stated
“I would like to see the full and open answers to this request on this site so that we can all see . This is the main reason why the request was made on this site.”
Needless to say we asked them to comply with the law and state what information they held. After delay they provided some of the requested information with this response.
“It has been confirmed to us that there is no reference to a property called Thermphos on our Hazardous Substances Consent Register. Apart from Rhodia, the only other property in Trinity Street, Oldbury marked on the Register is Rosier Services. All necessary consents are in place and all properties are regularly inspected by the HSE.
Please find attached copies of all application forms for Hazardous Substances Consent made by Rhodia and Rosier Services. The application forms detail the types of chemicals and quantities applied for to be stored on each site.
In regards to question 3, our Officer does not hold this information. He suggests that you approach the HSE for guidance regarding this information. Their Birmingham Office address is:
No 1 Hagley Road Birmingham
Below is a list of the consents supplied to Albright and Wilson and Rhodia in chronological order. The Rosier services site is last. NB THIS IS THE OLD ICI SITE AND PREVIOUSLY TO THAT CHANCE AND HUNT,LOCATED RIGHT NEXT TO THE AW/RHODIA SITE, THE SITE THAT SHARED THE CHEMICAL ARM (HOUGHTON BRANCH CANAL.)
It has become clear that in respect of application HS/026 supplied in this request, this is NOT the application for this Hazardous substance consent, but the HS consent for HS/021 held in the HS/026 file. The correct application for this request can be found HERE.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
We have looked in more detail at these hazardous substance consents and the chemicals concerned at the following page on this website. An additional consent HS/034 was missed off the list and we have looked at this HERE. The consents used to be found on Sandwell council’s planning portal website under the Trinity Street Address, yet in the last couple of years it appears that someone in this authority has chosen to remove all of the associated documents and details that were once there. One wonders WHY, and how exactly does this make the council look transparent when it only suits the business polluter applicant to hide this information from public scrutiny?
The trouble with these Hazardous waste consents in general is that councillors wave them through, or they are made through “delegated decision” by officers because they don’t have the necessary scientific guidance to be able to scrutinise them. The HSE, Environment Agency and fire services rarely object, as the question is “would additional quantities of such substances pose a greater significant risk to the public if allowed?” This is a completely blinkered way of looking at a situation that could be putting peoples lives at risk unnecessarily, based entirely on allowing a chemical business to expand its activities. When the type of materials such as the ones consented here are present on your doorstep, what difference would a few extra tonnes make if it all went up in smoke?
The quantities are TOO GREAT TO BE “SAFE”.