Knitwear firm in NRA's first major aquifer pollution case

Knitwear manufacturer Pringle of Scotland was prosecuted successfully in August after the National Rivers Authority (NRA) traced groundwater pollution to its Berwick site. Although the firm was fined a relatively modest £5,000, it faces two possible clean-up claims which would be orders of magnitude more costly.

The case arose from an investigation by the NRA's Northumbrian region into sources of pollution on the river Tweed last November after swans were found to be sinking. The NRA uncovered a substantial discharge of tetrachloroethylene from Pringle's site into the river. Further investigations revealed that a spill had occurred during a delivery of the solvent and that drains in the site's delivery area were connected to the surface water system.

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