Appearing before Stonehaven Sheriff Court on 23 January, Cairnmoss (Aberdeen) Ltd, trading as Bruce Plant, pleaded guilty to two charges under section 30F(3) of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 of allowing trade effluent from Ury quarry to be discharged into controlled waters on 3 and 4 May 2003. Following a report that Cowie Water was severely discoloured, Scottish Environment Protection Agency officers found that water being used to wash gravel was being discharged back into the river. After being contacted by SEPA, the operators built earth barriers to help control the flow of silty water, but this did not stop water entering the river further downstream. Analysis of water samples showed that the river downstream of the quarry contained nearly twice as much solid material as upstream samples and also abnormal levels of aluminium - which is used in the process of treating silty water.
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