herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Dangerous toxins will not be a problem at Poolbeg, vows council

The WTE facility currently under construction at Poolbeg Picture: Damien Eagers
The WTE facility currently under construction at Poolbeg Picture: Damien Eagers

Dangerous toxins will not be an issue at the Poolbeg incinerator despite another plant built by its project partner failing emissions tests, according to Dublin City Council.

American firm Covanta has been forced to close one of the two boilers at their newly built plant in Toronto, Canada, because of fears over emissions.

It passed the limit for dioxins and furans - by-products released when burning waste - in May and an expert has warned that such gases can pose dangers to people.

It has raised fresh concerns about the Poolbeg plant due to come into operation next year.

A local regional medical health officer near the Canadian plant, Dr Robert Kyle, said such contaminates can ruin food supplies.

"Sustained excessive emissions of dioxins and furans are a potential human health hazard primarily by entering the food chain," he said.

The World Health Organisation warns that short-term exposure to high levels of dioxins may result in skin lesions and altered liver function.

Long-term exposure is linked to immune system problems and issues with the nervous system and reproductive functions.

Failures

Further concerns have been raised by Dublin City Council's environment committee about the implications of the failures at the Canadian plant and links to the work at Poolbeg.

But the council has now moved to allay the concerns about emissions and contaminants from the Poolbeg site. A spokesperson said they are satisfied the facility is being constructed in accordance with all the necessary guidelines.

"The EPA, as the competent statutory authority, will put in place a monitoring system for the operational phase of the facility to ensure compliance with the licence granted by them," he said.

"Dublin City Council is satisfied that the facility is being constructed in accordance with all the statutory consents obtained."

Covanta has also spoken about the issue and insisted the failures in Canada did not pose a danger.

"It is also important to note that ambient monitoring results of dioxins and furans upwind and downwind of the Durham York Energy Centre were below Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change's established applicable criteria," a spokesperson said.

"These results confirm that the facility poses no risk to human health or the environment."

The company added the Poolbeg site will be completed with safety as a priority.

"The construction and commissioning of the Dublin Waste to Energy (WTE) facility is being led by Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) - a world leader in constructing WTE facilities," said a spokesperson.

"HZI has worked on hundreds of facilities around the world and has commissioned 13 facilities in Europe since 2010, with no violations or issues relating to emissions."

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