Lethal chemical leak puts spotlight on wood preserving sector

A chemical spill which caused serious damage to aquatic life in the river Bourne near Woking and forced the closure of drinking water abstraction points has called into question the adequacy of the spillage containment measures used by the wood preserving industry.

The spill followed a fire on 6 March at a site operated by Harcros Timber & Building Supplies, a subsidiary of the Harcros group. According to the National Rivers Authority (NRA), about 5,000 gallons of wood preserving solution containing the highly toxic chemicals tributyltin oxide (TBTO) and lindane travelled three kilometres along a drainage system before entering the Bourne.

More than 10 kilometres of the Bourne were affected by t

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