Ynysddu residents fear 'highly toxic' waste is spilling out of old quarry into local river

  • Watch the report by ITV Wales' Rural Affairs Correspondent Hannah Thomas

Locals from a village in south east Wales have said they are scared when it rains due to a "stinking" smell and brown water which flows down a mountainside from a disused quarry.

Residents in Ynysddu near Ty Llwyd Quarry claim the water is contaminated with toxic chemicals, and are worried about the impact it could have on the community and the environment.

Local people said house prices have already been impacted, while there are concerns about the affect the situation will have on farms and cattle in the area.

Caerphilly Council invited residents and Natural Resources Wales to talks on Monday to discuss how the situation can be solved.

Reverend Paul Cawthorne, a vicar and a toxic waste site researcher, said: "I've just been up there [the hill] and there's a horrible orange stain coming down onto the public footpath."

He added: "It's evidence of just how bad the overflow was back in January. I've come down for the last three Januarys and every January it's been overflowing so really the site needs containing properly, rather than just putting extra chambers and actually having planned overflow every winter.

"The poor residents of Ynysddu, they seem to be being expected to live just below this site which is leaking every winter."

One resident added, "The amount of leachate coming out is tremendous especially in adverse weather".

Talking about possible impacts on people's health, he added: "I haven't yet seen any monitoring stations being installed in the village to make sure there's no health impacts for the villagers."

He added: "Let's get some proper testing done, rather than lots of sticking plaster solutions, cheap and cheerful and hoping people won't notice.

"We saw evidence just up there [on the hill] of where children had been playing in the toxic flow. It scares me stiff thinking if they got PCB or something under their fingernails and then carry that back into the houses of Ynysddu. You know, where's the responsibility? And most importantly of all, where's the accountability?"

A concerned resident, Alan, said: "It's only a matter of time, in my opinion, before a very large amount of these toxic chemicals end up flooding down the side of the hillside and into this river."

In a statement, the leader of Caerphilly Council, Sean Morgan said he was "disappointed and frustrated" that two local councillors who were originally set to attend the meeting have decided not to.

Cllr Morgan said: “We asked the local councillors to supply the names of local people who we could invite to the meeting, but unfortunately these names were not provided, and we have now been informed that the councillors are no longer planning to attend either."

The council had wanted a "small delegation" of local residents to attend the meeting.

The council leader continued: “This was not intended to be a full public meeting and we probably don’t have all the answers at this stage, but I wanted to meet representatives from the community to look at the problems associated with Ty Llwyd quarry, help allay some of their fears and agree a way forward."

Meanwhile, Kate Rodgers, Environment Team Leader for Natural Resources Wales said: “Preventing pollution affecting the people and wildlife of Wales is a big part of the work we do, which is why we have staff on hand 24/7 to respond to any incidents that arise.

“For historical sites that are not regulated by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), there is a statutory duty, on local authorities, as principle regulators, to inspect their areas in order to identify potential contaminated land.

“We are currently awaiting the results from the samples and we are continuing to liaise closely with Caerphilly Council and local Councillors as part of the ongoing investigation process."