Mark Foley from Cardiff held a permit in the name of his firm M E Foley Contractors LTD to dump non-hazardous waste in Stowey Quarry, close to Chew Valley Lake - which is one of Weston-super-Mare’s sources of drinking water.
But at North Somerset courte on Monday, Foley and his firm were accused of dumping harmful substances, including residues created in the process of scrapping cars, in violation of his permit.
Environmental Protection Act 1990 (as amended)
22 Mar 2019
The Environment Agency (EA), which is prosecuting Foley, said there was a risk that the contaminants could leach through soil from the quarry to the lake.
The court heard that the minimum cost of clean up is in excess of £50m.
Should the contaminants leach into the Bristol city water supply, it could cost up to £9bn, Brendan Moorehouse, prosecuting for the EA said.
An EA spokesperson said the £9bn estimate was provided by Bristol Water and covers the cost of sourcing an alternative water supply at £500m per year for 15 years along with building a new reservoir at the cost of £1.5bn.
Foley declined to comment. He will appear at Bristol Crown Court on November 11, charged with contravening an environmental permit and disposing of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health, in breach of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.