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EPA – Agri-Food Sector Needs To Improve Environmental Compliance

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published its Industrial and Waste Licence Enforcement Report for the year 2017. This report gives details of compliance levels and enforcement activities across the 800 licensed facilities during 2017.

The Food and Drink sector had the poorest compliance, including the most number of non-compliances and the highest number of prosecutions.

Key findings for 2017 were:-
Over 1500 site inspections were completed.
Unannounced were 91% of inspections.
Six sites were inspected 20 or more times.
In 2017, 22 prosecutions were concluded.
One Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) case concluded.
Over €374,000 in fines and costs were awarded.
Over 1000 complaints were received about licensed facilities.
Odour complaints decreased by 42% – Noise complaints increased by 68%

Commenting on the report Mr Gerard O’Leary, EPA Director of the Office of Environmental Enforcement stated: “The EPA targets its enforcement efforts at the most non-compliant facilities. The publication of the National Priority Sites system last year has driven environmental compliance and seen much needed investment in environmental infrastructure. Over half of the sites who have appeared on the Priority Sites list have been convicted or are facing prosecution.”

Three Tipperary companies were amongst those prosecuted by the EPA in recent years.

Rosderra Irish Meats of Carrig, Roscrea were fined for failing to ensure emissions to sewer did not exceed permitted limits. (Fines & Charges amounted to €18,500)
Arrabawn Co-Operative Society, Nenagh, September 2017. (Fined €16,000)
Bord na Mona Fuels, Littleton, Thurles, in 2016.  (Fines & Charges in 2017 nearly €12,000).

The EPA has also published the latest National Priority Sites List for Enforcement today. Five sites (See below 1) are on the latest list for failing to meet the necessary environmental standards. These companies face further enforcement action.

Four of the five sites are from the agri-food sector; this sector has accounted for almost half of all priority sites since publication last year.
Of the 19 sites published on the list since it commenced, 13 have either been convicted or now face prosecution.
Four sites have come off the previous National Priority Site List following improvements in compliance.

Ms Mary Gurrie, Programme Manager, EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement commented:

“The National Priority Sites system has exceeded our expectations as a tool to drive environmental compliance. Companies have come off the list in the past year by improving operational practices or making significant investment in infrastructure. Sites in the agrifood sector have dominated the list (11 of 19 sites) and compliance in this sector needs to improve.”

1  The following are the National Priority Sites for January – June 2018.
[ The EPA will update the National Priority Sites list, on a quarterly basis.]
Reg. No. P0812-01  –  Arrow Group  –  Co. Kildare.
Reg. No. P0815-02  –  Lacpatrick Dairies Limited  –  Co. Monaghan.
Reg. No. P0180-02  –  Rosderra Irish Meats Group (Edenderry) –  Co. Offaly.
Reg. No. W0136-03  –  Starrus Eco Holdings Limited (Munster) –  Co. Cork.

Reg. No. P0831-01  – Western Brand Group Limited  –  Co. Mayo.

Licensed facilities are identified as National Priority Sites for enforcement, using a system developed by the EPA. Points are allocated to each site based on compliance data such as complaints, incidents and non-compliances over the previous six months. Sites which exceed a certain threshold become a National Priority Site and are targeted by the EPA for further enforcement action.

The National Priority Sites for Enforcement system was launched by the EPA in July 2017 to drive further environmental compliance at industrial and waste facilities.

Further details of the National Priority Sites scoring system and the list of sites can be found here National Priority Sites :: Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland.

Enforcement information on all sites can be found under the Licence Search pages at www.epa.ie.

Complaints about licensed sites can be made on-line or by contacting the EPA at Tel: 053-9160600.

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Fourth Major Fish Kill In North Tipperary In Seven Weeks

It is not by accident that Thurles.Info have been raising environmental issues and concerns regarding important and desirable biodiversity; while highlighting the failure by this present minority Fine Gael government, supported by Fianna Fáil, to protect the quality food producers and the employment they support, here in Co. Tipperary.

The Ollatrim River rises in North Co. Tipperary and flows through the Townland of Ollatrim, joining the Ballinaboy River and Nenagh River east of the town of Nenagh.

Together all flow into Lough Derg, just north of the picturesque village of Dromineer. Indeed a short section of this river indicates the perimeter between Co. Tipperary and our near neighbours, Co. Offaly.

It took eight days for Officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland to notify the public that an investigation has now begun after some 15,000 fish were killed, over a 5km stretch, in the above named Ollatrim River. Officers had attended the scene at Ballinahemery Bridge, close to Ballymackey, Nenagh on Monday 9th July last, having been alerted to a major fish kill.

Inland Fisheries Officers estimate that some 10,500 Lamprey (Latter a protected species), 1,400 Brown Trout, 805 Stoneloach, 1,820 Minnow, 70 Salmon, 70 Crayfish and 84 Stickleback were numbered in this extermination.

Inland Fisheries confirm that this is the largest kill of Lamprey in recent years and now believe it may take some years for stock numbers to at least partially recover.

Herbicide or pesticide or some other Agricultural chemical is understood to have caused this major fish kill. This latest incident will be investigated but no findings will be made public.

Fourth Major Fish Kill In North Tipperary In Less Than Eight Weeks

Not including the current Crayfish Plague, this latest major fish kill in North Tipperary rivers comes to four since late May last. During that month, over 100 trout and juvenile salmon stocks died, when a greyish coloured foul smelling substance entered the Mill River in Ballina. In early June we learned of yet another fish kill on the Ballintotty River, which left the entire trout and salmon population wiped out along a stretch of the river. Then another incident, which occurred at Ballycrinode, Ballinalough, when supposedly slurry accidentally spilled into the river.

Nothing accidentally spills into our Rivers. Accidents do not happen they are caused and offenders must at least be seen to be prosecuted.

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Cattle Rustlers Visit Templetuohy Under Cover Of Darkness

A farmer in Co. Tipperary continues to seek information and your help in relation to a number of heifers gone missing; believed stolen, from his farm and the farm of another, in the immediate neighbouring vicinity of Templetuohy .

The agriculturalist; operating his agrarian activities from the Templetuohy area, some 14.9km, or just 19 minutes drive from Thurles town, is appealing for any information, following what he believes to be the theft of two of his heifers last week.

The two heifers, a Limousin and a Charolais; both of which are around two years old and weighing around 500kg, were removed from his property on Friday morning last between 4.00am and 6.00am.

In another theft nearby seven Aberdeen Angus heifers also vanished from a neighbouring farm on Monday last,

Any persons with knowledge on either of these disappearances, no matter how small, or who may have observed the animals, are asked to contact their owner, Mr Thomas Lanigan, on Tel: 086-3041419.

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Emissions From Air Pollutants Increased In 2016

Emissions from three important air pollutants increased in 2016 – Ireland’s emissions going in the wrong direction for people to benefit from cleaner air.

EPA reports 2016 emission levels for the five main air pollutants.

The figures show that emissions of three of the five air pollutants increased – ammonia, nitrogen oxides and non-methane volatile organic compounds.
Emissions of ammonia have been increasing since 2011 and were above the specified EU emission limit in 2016 for the first time.
Emissions of two of the other air pollutants, nitrogen oxides and non-methane volatile organic compounds, while in compliance with EU limits for now, are increasing.
Emissions of sulphur dioxide continue to decrease. These were well below the required EU emission limits, substantially due to the use of lower sulphur content fuels in electricity generation and transport.
Particulate matter emissions declined in 2016. Future emissions will depend largely on the quantity and quality of solid fuel used in the residential and commercial sectors.

The EPA today published figures for emissions of five key air pollutants. These pollutants impact air quality in Ireland and further afield, causing respiratory problems, pollution of soil and surface water, and damage to vegetation.

Stephen Treacy, Senior Manager with the EPA, said, “Our figures show that emissions of three of the five main pollutants are going in the wrong direction. Higher emissions of these pollutants will cause damage to air quality and health and make future compliance with EU limits more challenging.”

This latest information from the EPA shows that Ireland exceeded its emission limits for ammonia for the first time in 2016 and emissions of this gas are increasing. The agriculture sector accounts for virtually all (99 per cent) ammonia emissions in Ireland arising from the application of fertilisers – 40 million tonnes of animal manures are used annually together with 300,000 tonnes of nitrogen in fertilisers.

“Ammonia limits have been breached due to the rapid expansion of dairy and beef production in Ireland in recent years. This underlines the challenge in designing appropriate policies that protect our environment in a growing economy”, Stephen Treacy said.

The 2016 figures show that Ireland remains in compliance with its nitrogen oxide and non-methane volatile organic carbon emission limits, though these emissions are also increasing. Transport is the principal source of nitrogen oxide emissions, contributing approximately 41 per cent of the total in 2016. Agriculture is the second biggest source, contributing approximately 29.6 per cent of the 2016 total, mainly due to synthetic fertiliser application and emissions from urine and dung deposited by grazing animals.
The figures published today show that Ireland’s level of sulphur dioxide continues to be well below the EU emission limits. The reduction in the emission of this pollutant is positive for the environment, public health and the economy. The main sources of sulphur dioxide emissions are the power generation, residential and commercial sectors. Effective licencing and enforcement by the EPA has contributed to reductions in these pollutants as well as the use of cleaner fuels in power generation and transport.

Stephen Treacy concluded: “On the positive side, Ireland has significantly cut emissions of sulphur dioxide, greatly reducing the environmental damage caused by this pollutant, via behaviour change and response to regulatory interventions. While overall emissions of particulate matter also declined in 2016, localised problems can arise because of residential solid-fuel use.”

For further detail on these figures see the EPA web published report Ireland’s Air Pollutant Emissions 2016.

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Advice For Private Well Owners Affected by Storm Emma

Advice For Private Well Owners Affected by Storm Emma

The EPA recommends that if your well has been affected by Storm Emma you should make sure it is properly disinfected before using it for drinking water. Details of how you can disinfect your well are below. This procedure should be carried out once the flooding has subsided.

The EPA has also published advice and guidance for households using private wells which includes information on:

  • Protecting your private well water
  • Testing and treating your well water
  • Concerns and complaints
  • Further guidance and Frequently Asked Questions

This information includes a Protect Your Well Assessment App. and a short animation explaining how to protect your private well.

The EPA has also published an Advice Note on Restoring Public Water Supplies Following Flooding which should be used by water suppliers, such as Irish Water and Group Water Schemes operators, if supplies have been affected by flooding.

Disinfecting Your Well After Flooding

This method is for the disinfection of a well water supply, water storage tank, water carrying pipe work and hot and cold-water cylinders. Approximately 1,100 litres of water will be used.

Caution: if you have a filter or any other type of water treatment on any part of your system, consult your supplier before following this procedure. Heavily chlorinated water may affect the filter or the chlorine may be absorbed by the filter, rendering the procedure ineffective.

Add 5 litres of a 1% w/v solution of Sodium Hypochlorite to 25 litres of water. While we do not endorse any individual products, any one of the following products may be used diluted in 25 litres of water.

2.5 litres of Milton fluid (or 50 tablets) or similar products with 2% w/v Sodium Hypochlorite.

Or

0.5 litres of Sterichlor or similar products with 10/11% Sodium Hypochlorite

Disinfection products sold for use on the farm will be acceptable for use in disinfecting wells. However, it is important to seek advice about their use and it is advisable to always use the products in about 25 litres of water.

  1. Pour half of the solution into the well.
  2. Turn on the drinking water tap in the kitchen and let the water run until there is a distinct smell of chlorine from the water. Then turn off the tap.
  3. Turn on all other taps and let the water run until there is a distinct smell of chlorine from the water. Then turn off the taps.
  4. Pour the other half of the solution into the well. Turn off the well pump and ensure that the well is covered properly. Allow to stand overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  5. After at least 8 hours reconnect the pump. Turn on all taps and let the water run until the smell of chlorine is gone. Turn off all taps.
  6. Arrange for the water to be tested.

N.B. This method is only suitable as a once off shock disinfecting procedure and cannot replace a proper treatment system if your water supply needs continuous disinfection.

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