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Wednesday, 23 August, 2000, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Council firm fined over chemical spill
Swimming Pool
The spill came from was from Loch Leven Leisure Centre
A company operated by Perth and Kinross Council has been fined 5,000 for polluting a burn and killing thousands of fish.

A mile-long stretch of the North Queich burn near Kinross was poisoned with chlorine-based chemicals in August last year.

A hearing at Perth Sheriff Court heard that thousands of dead fish were discovered following the release from a swimming pool operated by the council.

Sheriff Craig Caldwell, fining Perth and Kinross Recreational Facilities Ltd 5,000 for the leak, criticised the council for not teaching staff what to do in the event of such an incident.

The company admitted causing the pollution at the North Queich near Kinross in August last year.

Fiscal depute Robert Hunter told the court that, following the leak, thousands of dead fish were discovered lying at the bottom of the water course.

Disaster scene

Experts who visited the scene described it as a serious environmental disaster and noted a smell of chlorine in the air.

Mr Hunter said: "There were no dead fish upstream, but there were dead fish for 1,500 metres downstream."

The source of the poison was traced to the public pool at Loch Leven Leisure Centre.

Staff at the leisure pool had emptied a tank so engineers could check it after a pipe was found to be leaking.

Solicitor for the council Ben MacFarlane said a female member of staff had released the highly-toxic chemicals into the wrong place.

He said she was unaware of the effect her actions had had, and was "extremely distressed" when she was later told what she had done.

Sheriff Caldwell criticised the council for failing to explain to staff what was supposed to happen in any such incident.

He said, "I think this is a very serious failure on the part of the company and they need to bring the risks to the awareness of staff."

Mr MacFarlane said the company had now briefed staff about what to do in case of a similar incident.

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16 Jun 00 | Scotland
Pledge as pollution rises
12 Jun 00 | Scotland
Valley 'most polluted area'
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