Chemical company gets go-ahead for proposed incinerator in the west

 

THE Roche Ireland chemical company has been given the go-ahead to operate a proposed £13 million incinerator, which will reduce toxic emissions from its Co Clare plant by 95 per cent.

The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday granted the company a new pollution-control licence for the operation of the incinerator in Clarecastle.

The revised Integrated Pollution Control licence will allow the company to comply with last year's request from the EPA for a "significant reduction" in atmospheric emissions from the plant.

The company, which manufactures pharmaceutical compounds, subsequently asked the EPA to revise its IPC licence to permit it to comply.

The EPA held an oral hearing last October at which environmental objections to the incinerator were raised by local groups.

The incinerator will deal with liquid wastes from the site which are currently taken to Britain for incineration. It will also eliminate odour emissions and only waste generated on site will be incinerated.

The EPA said the revised licence would "provide a significant improvement to the environmental performance of the plant" by reducing the emission of toxic organic solvents to the atmosphere by 95 per cent.

Organic solvents are highly volatile, colourless liquids which can cause environmental damage. It will also ensure that EU standards and World Health Organisation guidelines are met.

The EPA said it would insist on the use of cleaner technology at the plant and was looking for ongoing reduction of emissions at source.

The company and the EPA will monitor the plant and unannounced visits will be made by EPA officials to ensure compliance with the conditions of the licence.

The EPA also intends to monitor levels of dioxin in milk produced in the Clarecastle area.

Concern was expressed at the hearing that the incinerator would produce these highly toxic, fat-soluble compounds as by-products.

An EPA spokesman said it was satisfied that the standards on dioxin levels imposed on the plant were among the highest in Europe.

He said the EPA did not predict any problems with dioxin emissions from the plant.