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Textile Finishers

Volume 176: debated on Friday 13 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will make a statement on the problems arising in textile finishers' effluent from the presence of pentacholorophenol or its salts in imported grey fabric which is processed in the United Kingdom;(2) if he will take steps to ensure that his pollution inspectorate applies the same regulations on textile finishers' effluent as in other European Economic Community countries.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has asked me to reply.The EC Dangerous Substances Directive 86/280/EEC has, since 1 January 1988, required all surface waters to meet a quality standard in respect of pentachlorophenol (PCP) of 2 microgrammes per litre. The Commission will require uniform compliance with the directive across the Community.Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, on behalf of the Secretary of State, is currently reviewing a number of trade effluent consents granted to companies where PCP may be present in their effluent. In reviewing these discharges, the Department is obliged to consider the representations of both the discharger and the statutory sewage undertaker as well as having regard to the need to ensure that the quality standard is met in the eventual receiving water before reaching his decision.However, many existing waters already contain traces of PCP and this constrains further discharges, in some cases ruling out any further discharges from existing or proposed processes. Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution will therefore ensure that, as required by article 3 of the directive, the best technical means available are applied to the treatment of any discharge. For both existing and new discharges there are a number of practical measures and options available to enable the required discharge condition and therefore the quality standard in the relevant receiving water to be achieved.