A housing plan for Dorchester could pollute drinking water

A housing plan for Dorchester could pollute drinking water

Dorchester STAND

Campaign group Save the Area North of Dorchester (STAND) is calling on Dorset Council to suspend work on the proposed development north of Dorchester after Wessex Water expressed concerns that the 4,000-house development could have a significant negative impact on the quality of the town’s drinking water.
The concerns are set out in an email from Wessex Water to a firm of consultants who have been asked by Dorset Council to create a vision for a new “garden community” on green fields just north of the town centre.
In their email, Wessex Water say the development could result in pollution of the Eagle Lodge borehole, which provides most of the Dorchester area’s drinking water.
Wessex Water say it’s likely ‘significant investment will be required to maintain the quality of the water supply including the provision of new reservoirs’.
The email states: “The history of nitrate reduction in this catchment shows that land use change will affect groundwater quality in the long term. In addition, most other groundwater sources adjacent to urban areas have been abandoned due to reduced water quality. So our experience is that major development in a source protection zone can result in significant water quality deterioration in the aquifer requiring carbon intensive additional treatment and in some cases serious pollution that may render the source unusable resulting in alternative new water resources needing to be developed.”
Conservatives on Dorset Council have backed the proposals for more than 4,000 homes in the next Local Plan – despite widespread local opposition including from West Dorset MP Chris Loder, Dorchester councillors and Dorchester Town Council.
STAND chairman Jane Ashdown says the water company’s concerns are a major blow to Dorset Council’s plans. She says work on the north of Dorchester proposal should be halted while Wessex Water carries out a major risk assessment of the impact of the development on water quality.
Wessex Water says experience suggests that the existing borehole may have to be abandoned and alternative water supplies developed.

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