Extra monitoring at BAe explosives factory

British Aerospace Systems, owners of the Royal Ordnance factory near Bridgwater, has been required to conduct additional monitoring of its effluent discharge following worries over the colour and toxicity of discharges.

The action was taken after a local BBC programme raised concerns about the site after a member of the public discovered red effluent being discharged into a ditch leading to the Parrett estuary. The effluent contained nitrotoluene from the manufacture of TNT explosive.

The site is regulated by the Environment Agency under integrated pollution control. The Agency told ENDS that there was no cause for concern. The red coloration during production runs of TNT was normal and the pollution was insignificant.

However, the Agency says that "to allay public concerns" it has required BAe Systems to conduct monitoring for nitrotoluene during the next TNT production run in order to confirm concentrations and toxicity of the effluent.

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