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More families await gas site risk results

Walsall | News | Published:

Tests to determine levels of soil contamination on a housing estate built on the site of a former gasworks have been carried out at 48 more homes.

Tests to determine levels of soil contamination on a housing estate built on the site of a former gasworks have been carried out at 48 more homes.

"Significant contamination" has already been found in the gardens of 43 properties.

The homes are on the site of Willenhall Town Gas Works. Heavy metals, tars and a gas-manufacturing by-product known as Blue Billy, which may pose a health risk if ingested, have been found about a foot below the surface.

The gasworks shut down in the 1960s and the homes were built shortly after. Residents in Kemble Close and Brookthorpe Drive, Willenhall, have been told not to eat vegetables grown in their gardens and to always use gloves when weeding.

Families also cannot carry out extensions of their homes during the probe. The results on further tests carried out at properties in Newent Drive and Oakridge Drive are due to be back by mid-summer.The investigation into the soil contamination could take five years.

John Roseblade, Walsall Council pollution control manager, said: "We're pressing ahead with the complex procedures that must be completed to allow the council to deal with the 43 properties where significant levels of contamination have been found.

"We expect to be able to update residents on progress quite soon. In addition, we did not have sufficient information on further properties within the area. We have commissioned extra testing to be carried out at 48 properties in this area, which has now been completed.

"The results we get from this testing will determine our next course of action for these particular properties."Householders have been told they are unlikely to suffer "serious disease" as they would have had to have ingested large amounts of the chemicals over many years.

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