§ Ms Walley
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement in respect of the requirement on manufacturing industries to prevent the release of hazardous substances into water and the policy of Ofwat in respect of contaminants penetrating underlying aquifers to significant depths.
§ Mr. Meacher
Under various powers contained in the Water Resources Act 1991, the Water Industry Act 1991, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and regulations made under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 2000, discharges from manufacturing industries to sewer and controlled waters require written authorisation from, respectively, the sewerage undertaker and the Environment Agency. Conditions in these authorisations are set in order to protect receiving waters from polluting substances. The Agency also has powers to prevent polluting activities. Ofwat has no direct responsibilities for discharge consents or associated standards.
§ Mr. Meacher
The Government have, through the Groundwater Regulations 1998 and the Anti-Pollution Works Notices Regulations 1999, increased the powers available to the Environment Agency to protect groundwater resources. In addition the Government have issued, under Regulation 21 of the Groundwater Regulations, a groundwater protection code of practice on the use and disposal of sheep dip. A draft code for petrol stations and underground storage tanks has been to public consultation and work is under way on codes for potential sources of contamination.