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Nothing for an eye:

The Camelford water poisoning case and the consequences of corporate dominance in civil claims for damages.

On July 6th 1988, the year that the British economy geared up to privatising the water supply services in Britain, a relief tanker driver, John Stephens, working for the South West Water Authority (SWWA) delivered 20 tonnes of water purifying chemicals, to the Lowermoore Water Treatment Works on Bodmin Moor. Having been given a key and inexact instructions by another driver, he searched round for the tank into which he should make the delivery. Finally he made a decision and in error, as it transpired, dumped the load of Aluminium Sulphate and other chemicals into an outflow tank of already purified water, which was being distributed to a possible 30,000 people in the Camelford area.

Although staff at the SWWA knew of the mistake very soon after it occurred, it was 16 days before the authority informed the public that there might be a problem. In an inquest in 2012 into the death of one of the victims, the coroner stated that SWWA had ‘gambled with as many as 20,000 lives’ when they failed to inform the public about the poisoning for 16 days, a delay which the Coroner called unacceptable.

Nothing for an Eye

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