Friday 18 August 2017

Poolbeg switch-on moves step closer

The first deliveries of waste to the new Covanta incinerator arrive at the pit inside the plant yesterday. Photo: Conor McCabe
The first deliveries of waste to the new Covanta incinerator arrive at the pit inside the plant yesterday. Photo: Conor McCabe
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

The controversial Poolbeg Incinerator will begin processing waste from early next week before ramping up to full production by September.

Waste operator Thorntons Recycling delivered 100 tonnes of residual, or black bin household waste, to the facility yesterday, with more to come over the coming days before it is processed from early next week as part of the testing and commissioning works needed to bring the plant on line.

But local residents have expressed concern about the possible health impact, after a facility in Canada was found to have exceeded dioxin limits and fires broke out at two other plants in the US. All were operated by the US firm Covanta, which will operate Poolbeg, but the company insists the Dublin plant will operate to the highest environmental standards.

The amount of dioxins, or dangerous chemicals, which can be emitted during operations is subject to strict legal limits monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it said.

In addition, there are concerns about how ash generated during the incineration process will be handled and disposed of.

Around 132,000 tonnes of ash will be produced, and 27,000 tonnes of fly ash, which is a hazardous material. Both will be stored securely on site, before being shipped abroad for treatment.

Covanta manager John Daly said he didn't anticipate there being "any problems" staying within the limits.

Enough power for 80,000 homes will be produced when the plant is fully operational, along with heating for a further 50,000 when a district heating system is completed.

Irish Independent

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