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EPA Summoned To Dublin Incinerator Plant

Health & Safety

The challenge, in 2003, by the South Tipperary Anti-Incinerator Campaign, and the further High Court challenge by horse trainer Mr Aidan O’Brien and the Magnier family, strongly opposing the development of a €25 million incinerator in South Tipperary, may indeed have been truly merited.

We learn today that eleven people were taken to hospital at around 10.45pm last night at Dublin’s new incinerator plant. The workers were taken to hospital after they were cloaked in a cloud of particles, following the breach of a pipe.

We understand that the workers were dismantling scaffolding at the multi-million Euro plant, when they became surrounded by lime that was accidentally released inside a flue gas treatment area.  This incident occurred during a commissioning and testing exercise.

Incinerator plant operators, the US waste firm Covanta, which were expected to start full waste burning this week after 20 years of opposition, state that the workforce, complained of nausea, breathing difficulties and blurred vision. These complaints, as a precaution, resulted in 11 workers, being sent to St Vincent’s Hospital.  Nine of those sent have since been released, while two were detained overnight and remain in hospital this morning.

It is also claimed that the lime in Combustion Unit No.1 was contained within the building and did not escape into the local environment, resulting in the incident having no impact outside the plant.

Several of the company’s facilities have been cited for air emission violations in the past. In 2001, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection fined Covanta Energy (formerly Ogden Corporation), for two mercury-pollution violations at the Okahumpka plant in 1998 and 1999.

In 2006, the Hawaii Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection both fined the company for exceeded emissions limits for dioxin, furan, lead and knickle during 2005/6.

Since 2008 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania cited and fined Covanta for exceeding the allowable emissions rate by nearly 350%. These cited exceeded emissions of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride and nitrogen oxide at Lancaster, South Central Pennsylvania.

The Irish Health & Safety Authority and the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been notified of the incident.

Certainly makes one glad that the Irish prevailing winds traverse Co. Tipperary from a South Westerly direction.

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