Smelter incriminates itself by reporting illegal discharge

Pasminco Europe (Smelting), part of the Australian-owned metals group, was fined £1,000 in August for an illegal cadmium discharge from its Avonmouth works. The case was unusual in that the company was prosecuted by the National Rivers Authority (NRA) on the basis of its own sampling, and the offence would probably otherwise have gone undetected.

Pasminco operates a smelter at Avonmouth which produces about 100,000 tonnes of zinc annually, as well as lead and cadmium as secondary products.

The company has consent to discharge effluent into the Kingsweston Rhyne, a tributary of the Severn. The consent includes a cadmium limit of 2mg/l.

In December last year, Pasminco's own monitoring revealed that it had discharged the metal at a concentration of 8.4 mg/l, over four times the

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