Waste firms told not to use farm facility
THE ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency has directed three Dublin-based waste companies to stop using a facility at a Co Kildare farm to dispose of residual black bin waste.
Greyhound, Thorntons and Oxigen were using Cleary Composting near Monasterevin to dispose of so-called “organic fines” – the organic element of household black bins. The facility, based on the Co Kildare farm, did not have the valid permission to accept waste that may contain animal by-products, the EPA has said.
Cleary Composting had been processing green waste, such as garden clippings, since 2006, but in 2010 applied to Kildare County Council for a waste permit to accept up to 10,000 tonnes of organic fines. This material is mainly the food waste element of the household bin, which when processed can be used as a top layer to cover landfill sites.
Last August the company was granted the waste permit, and last October it began accepting organic fines.
Local residents began making complaints to Kildare County Council in relation to odours from the facility last January. The following month it emerged there was an error in the permit. A section of the permit states that animal by-products shall only be accepted in accordance with Department of Agriculture approval, and quotes an approval number for the Cleary Composting site. However it emerged that this number did not apply to Cleary Composting but to another compost facility in Carlow.
On March 3rd, the county council removed the invalid approval number, leaving the facility without permission to accept waste which may contain animal by-products.
On May 30th, the EPA wrote to Greyhound, Thorntons and Oxigen saying it had become aware of the amendment by the council to Cleary Composting’s waste permit.
“The agency is, with immediate effect, withdrawing our approval for the transfer of waste materials . . . from your facility to Cleary Compost Shredding Limited, Larch Hill, County Kildare.”
Director of environmental services with Kildare County Council Joe Boland said the addition of the approval number had been a “clerical error” which occurred during the drafting of the permit. “Errors do happen from time to time, and when this came to our attention three months ago we amended it.”
He said this did not change the fundamental principal that animal by-product wastes could only be accepted if there was Department of Agriculture approval. More clarity was needed to establish if organic fines came under the definition of animal by-product wastes.
Pat Cleary of Cleary Composting said he had never sought an animal by-products licence because he did not intend to accept food waste and it was his understanding he did not require the licence for organic fines. He said he was seeking direction from the Department of Agriculture on whether he was required to apply for the animal by-products permit.
Mr Cleary said he had an additional difficulty in that he had more than 1,000 tonnes of organic fines stored outdoors on his site, now covered with sheeting, which he now could not move on until he had the sanction of the Department of Agriculture.
“I am in limbo here and I don’t know what to do. There is a real lack of clarity surrounding this issue which isn’t helped by the fact that you’re dealing with three different bodies, the EPA, local authority and the Department of Agriculture.”
Mr Cleary said he had always complied with any request made of him by any of the authorities and would continue to do so.