Council determines polluted golf course

Halton Borough Council has determined part of a municipal golf course in Widnes as contaminated land. Soil at the site is polluted with arsenic, putting public health at risk. Surface and groundwater is heavily impacted by calcium sulphides, sulphates and heavy metals.

As site owner, Halton council has admitted to being the sole ‘appropriate person’ responsible for the pollution.

For 150 years, the site was used as a waste tip, most notably by the local chemical industry, particularly soda works. The northern section of the site was remediated in the 1970s, but the work has proved inadequate. The golf course was closed in 2004.

Some 30 hectares has been determined under part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Environment Agency is responsible for its regulation.

The southern portion of the site was remediated to a higher standard in the 1980s and has not been determined.

The council and the Agency are considering remediation options. The most likely choice is to cap the site and collect and treat leachate at a cost of several million pounds. The council will seek funds from the Environment Department (DEFRA) to pay for the work.

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