Chemicals thrown away on topsoil after use by farmers, or solvents from factories, can seep down into underground aquifers and risk contaminating groundwater. Ministers want to avoid a serious pollution incident and are proposing a new crackdown on the problem.
The changes which are likely to include penalties for people who flout the law, will cover England, Wales and Scotland under the "polluter pays" principle.
A government source said: "Groundwater is a precious resource. It is now clean and it would be very difficult to clean up an aquifer. So there is a very good reason for protecting it".
The plans will go out to consultation over the next three months.Reuse content