WASTE ACTION GROUP
RE: W004 Kill Dump, Arthurstown, Kill, County Kildare.
WASTE ACTION GROUP
Environmental Protection Agency
PO Box 3000
Johnstown Castle Estate
RE: W004 Kill Dump, Arthurstown, Kill, County Kildare.
We wish to object to the proposed decision to grant a waste licence to South Dublin County Council in respect of the dump at Arthurstown, Kill, County Kildare.
We believe the proposed licence is in breach of the EPA's legal obligations under the Waste Management Act 1996 and the Groundwater Directive 68/80/EEC. The proposed licence may be in breach of other legal provisions, but we have not checked them.
This licence was applied for on the 1st May 1997. Landfilling commenced shortly afterwards. The dump has now been accepting waste for well over a year. Despite this, the proposed licence contains many conditions which are to be agreed at some time in the future. In the absence of instant agreement by the EPA to the applicant's proposals, many of these conditions will take even longer to be implemented than would be indicated by the timescales in the licence itself.
In the context of a dump which has been operating for such a length of time, we believe it is inappropriate that so much of the licensing regime should effectively be deferred to some future date before it takes effect.
This is particularly the case given that South Dublin County Council has repeatedly emphasised that the dump would be run to the highest criteria both in statements and during the High Court case taken by Kill residents. If this were the case, it should not be necessary to allow further time to the Council to come up with various proposals for the proper running of the dump which is already accepting waste.
Public Participation in Licensing System
Under the Waste Management Act, we have the right to object to a proposed licence. For this right to be meaningful, the proposed licence must contain the substantial details of the licensing regime for the activity applied for.
In fact, this licence leaves almost all the most environmentally important details for later agreement between the Agency and the applicant. This practice goes against and frustrates the Oireachtas' intention of a licensing system which incorporates a formal public participation element to the licensing procedure.
Even those sections of the licence which do specify concrete conditions typically contain the phrase "unless otherwise agreed". The liberal use of this clause further contravenes our rights to participate both under the Waste Management Act and under the E.I.A. Directive.
S. 40 of the Waste Management Act 1996
S. 40(4) of the Act specifies that
"The Agency shall not grant a waste licence unless it is satisfied that -
(a) any emissions from the recovery or disposal activity in question ("the activity concerned") will not result in the contravention of any relevant standard, including any standard for an environmental medium, or any relevant emission limit value, prescribed under any other enactment,
(b) the activity concerned, carried on in accordance with such conditions as may be attached to the licence, will not cause environmental pollution
The proposed licence is in contravention of both the above clauses of the Act.
In particular the sections relating to emissions to air and emissions to groundwater fail to specify relevant pollutant concentration limits (either for emission concentrations or resultant ambient pollutant concentrations).
As conditions relating to these pollutants and other conditions in the Act effectively have not yet been written, the Agency cannot at the moment be satisfied that "the activity concerned, carried on in accordance with such conditions as may be attached to the licence, will not cause environmental pollution."
Emissions to Air
The specification in S. 40(4)(b) is quite clear that the Agency must be satisfied that environmental pollution will not be caused.
Schedule G contains what are described as emission limits for dust and landfill gas. In fact it is clear from the units used that this are respectively
¬? a deposition rate limit for dust, and
¬? ambient concentration limits for 2 of the constituent gases in landfill gas.
Deposition rate for dust.
We would be interested to know how the deposition rate limit for dust has been calculated. QUARG (1996) discuss nuisance dust on pages 32-34, and note that a deposition rate of 200 mg/m2/day has often been used as a limit. However, they note that this is possibly too high for a number of reasons, and that another suggested limit has been 2 to 3 times the existing background deposition rate. We would also question the wisdom of the rate being averaged over 30 days. There is no valid reason of which we are aware for ignoring high dust levels over shorter timescales by averaging them out with the rest of the month.
Landfill gas emissions
As we point out above, there are no emission limits specified for landfill gas, merely ambient concentration limits for two of its components. A valid licence should specify total emission limits for methane because of its global warming potential, and emission limits for other toxic elements of landfill gas. It should also specify ambient concentration limits for toxic components of landfill gas.
In the light of the E.P.A.'s obligation not to license an activity which would cause environmental pollution, ambient concentration limits should be set for other typical VOC components of landfill gas. These limits should be set at levels which maintain current air quality. This is particularly so in respect of known or suspected carcinogens for which any increase in ambient concentrations represents a health risk.
In this regard we would emphasise that the E.P.A. Act does not exclude health impacts on workers on the landfill site from consideration as potential targets for and victims of environmental pollution. We also emphasise the potential vulnerability of neighbouring bloodstock businesses to air pollutants.
The proposed licence states (9.3) "The boreholes shown on Drawing ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶ shall be monitored for landfill gas." What constituent gases will be measured for, what are the trigger concentrations and what happens if they are found?
Biological Air pollution
There are no conditions in the proposed licence setting air quality standards nor monitoring conditions in relation to biological air pollution. This is an issue which was extensively discussed at the Bord Pleanála Oral Hearing in relation to impacts on studfarms. We are surprised that the E.P.A. appears to be unaware of it, both in this context and in relation to onsite workers.
Emissions to Groundwater.
The Waste Management Act including S. 40 as referred to above serves in Irish law as implementing legislation in this context for the Groundwater Directive (80/68/EEC). This licence as proposed, and the dump as it currently operates, are in clear breach of the Directive. We refer in particular to Article 3 and Article 4 (1), reproduced below.
Member States shall take the necessary steps to: (a) prevent the introduction into groundwater of substances in list I ; and (b) limit the introduction into groundwater of substances in list II so as to avoid pollution of this water by these substances.
1. To comply with the obligation referred to in Article 3 (a), Member States: - shall prohibit all direct discharge of substances in list I,
- shall subject to prior investigation any disposal or tipping for the purpose of disposal of these substances which might lead to indirect discharge. In the light of that investigation, Member States shall prohibit such activity or shall grant authorization provided that all the technical precautions necessary to prevent such discharge are observed,
- shall take all appropriate measures they deem necessary to prevent any indirect discharge of substances in list I due to activities on or in the ground other than those mentioned in the second indent. They shall notify such measures to the Commission, which, in the light of this information, may submit proposals to the Council for revision of this Directive.
We can point out here that both Lists I and II contain substances typically found in landfill leachate.
We do not think it is necessary to go into the details of how the provisions of the licence fail to comply with the Directive, as we believe the breaches are multiple and we would not like to provide you with an incomplete list, and the time allow for objections is insufficient for us to do this kind of detailed objection.
Discharge of leachate to the sea
The license provides that that leachate shall be put into a sewer system which discharges directly to the sea at Ringsend, following preliminary treatment. There is no meaningful treatment provided to the leachate before discharge to the sea. This clearly not the Best Available Technology Not Exceeding Excessive costs. We would also question its legality.
Missing elements of the licence
A valid licence should contain the following:
¬? Environmental Management System.
¬? Schedule of objectives and targets.
¬? Environmental Management Programme.
¬? Mass balance of Specified Substances.
¬? Details of a management structure for the proposed facility
¬? Communications programme.
¬? Details of what a suitably qualified person is.
¬? Trigger limits
¬? Actions to be taken if trigger limits are exceeded
Emergency Response Procedure and Fire condition
Having operated for over a year, the fact that there is no Emergency Response Procedure (10.1)is outrageous. The dump should not be allowed to operate in the further absence of such a procedure agreed with the E.P.A.
Exactly the same considerations apply to the condition relating to preparation for fires. There is no way the dump should be allowed to continue to operate before these conditions have been complied with. No other activity would be allowed to continue to operate in advance of complying with such conditions.
Environmental Impact Assessment
The impact of this dump on previously existing groundwater has not been assessed.
The licence ignores the existence of the existing toxic dump on site known as Gavin's Dump, also owned and maintained by the applicant.
Direct Effect of E.U. law
We remind the E.P.A. that South Dublin County Council is an emanation of the State for the purposes of E.U. law and therefore all E.U. Directives have direct effect and must be complied with at this facility.
Please find enclosed the £150 requested to object to this proposed licence, which however, we do not believe meets the legal criteria for a proposed licence.
We ask that the Environmental Protection Agency to specify publicly how this proposed licence would on the 5th of November 1998 make this facility safe from causing environmental pollution.
We ask that the Environmental Protection Agency specify publicly how the issue of this proposed licence would on the 5th November 1998 guarantee that there would be no risk to groundwater from this facility as specified in the EU Groundwater Directive.
Quality of Urban Air Review Group, 1996, Airborne Particulate Matter in the United Kingdom, Third report of the Q.U.A.R.G., Birmingham
Peter Sweetman David Healy Sean English
Westown 54, Evora Park Station House
San Antonio Park Howth Naas
Salthill County Dublin County Kildare