Articles published in local newspapers highlighted both the problem of the “unexplained” bird deaths at the time , but also the apparent lack of knowledge by Rhodia to explain the cause of this situation. We now know of course their mysticism to be total disingenuous lies on their part.
Before we were aware of white phosphorus and its toxic effects but suspected there to be poison in the lake, The Sunday Mercury broke what would become the most damning piece on the secret lagoon when a photographer met us on site during a routine tanker dumping. It showed waste being discharged from the pump into the centre of the lake. “Poison probe as swans die in lake.”
It was of course “poison” that was killing the wildfowl, in this instance a banned rat posion deemed “cruel in it’s effect” back in the 1960’s, though regulatory fools appear to have not been able to have made this link after this time, allowing a chemical company to dispose of the waste containing white phosphorus into an open air pool.
We have looked at the PR techniques of the company and lies of then operations manager John Scott HERE
Another important article appeared in the Wolverhampton Express and Star. “Worries over toxin in pool.” Although white phosphorus is a toxicant and not a “toxin” , this article was the first to make a link between the chemical that was poisoning the birds and what was present and accessible to them in the sediment.
Rhodia make little comment on this article, and must have now known that the lid on their “toothpaste” nonsense was nearly about to pop. Of course we now know that the chemical HAD burst into flames on previous occasions at this site. Something else both they and the useless environment agency had failed to tell us at meetings.
At this point we were still not aware of the sites former military links, the lethal toxicity of this chemical, and its proven track record with poisoning wildfowl at other sites. Marianne Walsh of the US Army chemical core of engineers however cited this article in a report for another white phosphorus containing lagoon in the US. “Remediation of P4 Contaminated Matrices at FMC, Pocatello, Idaho.” Previously she had been involved in the identification of this chemical with other scientists in the deaths of wildfowl at Eagle River Flats– where there is a US army firing range.
Following the first confirmed exposure to poisonous and toxic white phosphorus being ingested by a bird at the site, (after many had shown white phosphorus poisoning symptoms and subsequently died) , another ground breaking Sunday Mercury article poured further problems on the dishonest Oldbury waste dumpers. “LAKE OF DEATH”
This article directly quotes Marianne Walsh who underlines the problems that white phosphorus causes for wildfowl. Both the company and Barratt homes however try to distance the deaths of wildfowl to their operations. Barratt homes did not inform residents about what the lake contained and it should also be noted that the hazardous waste sign, a legal requirement of the site operator was missing during the marketing and sale of these houses on the former sewage works.
It is also worth pointing out that if these articles had never been published which stemmed from our campaign and research to get to the truth about the bird deaths, then rattlechain lagoon and its dark story would have been covered up in the same manner that Rhodia attempted to do in 2013 when they installed a geotextile barrier and sand underneath the water. This legal requirement on their part in order to fulfil basic “closure of the site” has merely just set out to “bury” the story but with all of the poisonous waste and white phosphorus still being there.