U.S. Water News Online
LONDON -- Britain's water supplies could be contaminated
from the hundreds of thousands of animals burned and buried during
last year's foot-and-mouth epidemic, the British Environment Agency
The pollution watchdog said the effects of the disease appeared to
be ``short term and localized'' but it could not rule out potential
Detailed monitoring of the water supply in the worst-affected
areas would be needed for a considerable time because of the
potentially dangerous consequences of the burial of the carcasses and
pyre ash, it said.
The document highlighted water pollution, odor from mass burial
and licensed landfill sites, and smoke from pyres as the most
frequent environmental problems.
It was released as farmers went on alert for the possibility of
another outbreak after two suspected cases of the highly contagious
disease were found at a northern England farm.
Livestock movements were banned within a five mile radius of the
farm as laboratory tests were being carried out.
More than 4 million animals were slaughtered throughout Britain
after the wasting disease, which affects cloven-hoofed animals, was
first detected in southern England on Feb. 20.
Britain has had no cases of the disease since Sept. 30, 2001, and
was declared foot-and-mouth free on Jan. 23.
The Environment Agency said 61,000 tons of carcasses were dumped
at four mass burial sites while more were destroyed on 95 pyre sites.
It recorded more than 200 water pollution incidents, with three
classified as serious.
``Overall, the immediate environmental impact of the
foot-and-mouth outbreak appears to have been limited, but we are left
with a legacy of mass burial sites that will require management and
monitoring well into the future,'' Environment Agency chairman Sir
John Harman said.
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