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Taf Fechan, Wales - Aluminium Sulphate Pollution

Taf Fechan Aluminium Sulphate

In February 2008 United Utilities (UU) agreed to pay Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association £25,000 after Fish Legal (as the ACA) brought a civil claim on their behalf following a pollution of the River Taf Fechan in Mid Glamorgan.


In August 2006, a large quantity of aluminium sulphate, a hazardous flocculent used in the water treatment process to remove suspended solid particles, entered the river from the Pontsticill Water Treatment Works, which UU operate on behalf of Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water.

The pollution turned the water white for at least 5km downstream of the works and caused the deaths of approximately 23,000 fish, including wild brown trout, bullheads, stickleback and pike, as well as wiping out invertebrates, the food source on which many of the fish rely.

The Environment Agency Wales (EAW) successfully brought criminal prosecutions of both UU and Welsh Water in September 2007. Both were fined £16,500 and ordered to pay costs of £4,184.80 to EAW.

Although Welsh Water paid £22,000 in April 2007 towards restocking, Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association asked Fish Legal to bring a civil claim on its behalf against UU for loss of amenity. The utility admitted liability and agreed to compensate the fishing club before the case went to trial.

For six years before the pollution, Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association had worked hard to improve the habitat of the river. The number of wild brown trout had increased significantly to a level where anglers from all over the country and overseas came to fish. In 2004 the club’s Taf Fechan project was 2nd place in the Wild Trout Trust’s prestigious conservation awards. According to the EAW, it is estimated that the river will take between 6 and 12 years to recover.

Contact: Fish Legal - Eastwood House | 6 Rainbow Street | Leominster | HR6 8DQ | Tel: 01568 620447

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