24 March 2000

Pig couple in water contamination fight

By David Green

A COUPLE whose pig enterprise had to close when their water supply became contaminated say they are prepared to go to the European Court of Human Rights to get justice for "20 years of hell".

Rudolph "Matt" Mattioli and his wife, Daphne, kept 1000 fatteners in buildings at the remote Keepers Cottage, Attlebridge in Norfolk, next to a landfill tip where commercial and industrial wastes were being dumped.

However, the pig enterprise had to close in 1979 when their well – from which they drew 2000 gallons a day – became contaminated.

Now, following a 20-year battle to be connected to a mains water supply, the couple say they are prepared to go to the European Court in an attempt to obtain justice.

During the past two decades a bore hole supply provided to replace the well has also been abandoned by the couple after the Environment Agency said the water quality did not meet legal requirements.

Mr and Mrs Mattioli are refusing to use a new bore hole, sunk last year by the tip operator Hales Waste because they fear a long-term risk to the health of themselves and their five children and eight grandchildren.

The fears are heightened by the knowledge that in the late 1980s about 360 BSE-infected cattle were dumped in the landfill tip.

A friend fills milk churns with water for the couples domestic use and bottled water is bought for drinking purposes.

Mr Mattioli said: "We have had 20 years of hell but we have no intention of giving up. We will fight on."

The couple say before deciding their next move they will await the outcome of an appeal next month by RMC Environmental Services, the parent company of Hales Waste, against an Environment Agency notice which forced the company to sink a bore hole last year.

RMC says it does not accept that the notice was justified or lawful or that the contamination of the well and original borehole was necessarily from the landfill tip because farming and industrial activity had taken place in the vicinity in the past. &#42

Rudolph Mattioli vows to continue his 20-year fight.