FOUL smells emanating from Wicklow Port have largely been eliminated, councillors have been told.
Members of Wicklow Town Council had raised concerns about odours at the port in recent times and last Wednesday at the monthly meeting town clerk Helen Purcell said a detailed response had arrived from Andrew Lawless of Wicklow County Council.
In the letter to the members Mr. Lawless said Wicklow Port Company has a permit allowing it to store Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) for export.
He said that this was granted in August but two complications arose following on from this.
' There was a dispute between the waste company, Greyhound Recycling and Recovery Ltd., and the EPA over classification of the material and approval to export waste from a particular port to another country must have approval from the competent authorities of both countries. There was a delay in getting approval from Germany.'
Mr. Lawless said 'a mistake was made by allowing RDF to be delivered to Wicklow before the paperwork was in place. Approximately 1,800 tonnes was delivered and stored on the North Quay. It was there for about 6 weeks before clearance for export was received and the first shipment left on Saturday November 17, 2012.'
Mr. Lawless said ' there have been some odour issues and weather conditions dictated where the issues arose. About a dozen complaints were received from various sources.
' The County council continuously pressured the Wicklow Port Company Ltd., to resolve the issue but it was somewhat out of their control.
'With the first load out of the way, the whole process will be examined to see if further shipments can take place.
' The EPA has issued new guidelines on the production of RDF for export and if these are followed then the cause of odour in the waste should be minimised.
'Storage in the port will have to be for a very short period of no more than a week before a ship arrives. This will reduce the impact as well.
' There are other sources of odour within the Port that are not waste related. The odours from the RDF are similar to the odours from a wheelie bin of waste and while a nuisance carried no health impacts.
' The port operators will insist that this business is vital for the survival of the Port and the employment it sustains. That does not mean, however, that the activities do not have to comply with environmental standards. Wicklow County Council will ensure that any future storage of this type of waste causes the least impact.'
Cllr. Pat Kavanagh commended Mr. Lawless for the indepth report.
Cllr. Gail Dunne said that a number of shipments had left the port recently and 'I don't think there was any problem.'