herald

Thursday 29 June 2017

Health inspectors close incinerator until safety checks are completed

Poolbeg incinerator
Poolbeg incinerator

Poolbeg incinerator has been closed on the advice of health inspectors.

An inspection team from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) served two prohibition notices yesterday that ensure no combustion takes place until processes have been fully checked to the satisfaction of officials.

Eleven workers were taken to hospital on Wednesday night after a faulty door seal led to the escape of a cloud of lime particles.

Lime is used to clean the flue gas - which contains dioxins and heavy metals - during the combustion process.

Nine of the workers were discharged on Thursday and two were detained overnight.

The new plant has been undergoing a series of commissioning processes in preparation for it becoming fully operational.

One of the prohibition notices was issued against the operators, Covanta, and the other was against a firm called HZI, also involved in the plant.

Prohibition

The notices temporarily prohibit the combustion process during the commissioning phase.

The prohibition notices will remain in place until the combustion process has been fully checked to the satisfaction of HSA inspectors.

Workers had begun to complain of breathing difficulties, feelings of nausea and blurred vision, according to one source.

In a statement, operators Covanta said a "number of workers" were in an adjacent area to the gas treatment area, and were taken to hospital for evaluation "as a precaution".

"Combustion Unit No 1, which was operating at the time, was shut down in an orderly and controlled manner," the statement added.

"The lime was contained within the building and did not escape into the environment and the incident had no impact whatsoever outside the plant."

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