Chemicals found dumped near a Shropshire airfield were potentially toxic, it was revealed today. Tests show 60 drums found on a trailer near Sleap Airfield contained substances highly toxic in large doses.
It took contractors working for the Environment Agency almost a month to remove the drums, which have since been incinerated.
Agency bosses say they have prevented any risk after clearing the site, near Wem. Stuart Gamble, environment manager for Shropshire, said: “We have identified the substance left in Sleap as phenolytics.
“We don’t know where they came from but we now know what they are. It could have an impact on people if it got into the water supply but, because of our actions, we have prevented this.
“At a certain temperature it would begin to taste like TCP and people would notice it. It is very toxic in huge amounts.
“It is very unusual to find that in a rural location, it would mainly come from industrial processes. The drums have gone for incineration and the incident is subject to an investigation.”
A passer-by spotted the drums leaking from the trailer and reported it to police in July. But it is believed the lorry could have been there for several years.
Specialist firefighters were called in and a temporary exclusion zone was put in place around the trailer.