UP TO 80,000 tonnes of sewage sludge could be burned annually in the Poolbeg incinerator, even though sewage processing at the site was not at present sanctioned by An Bord Pleanála, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing has been told.
The council is seeking a waste licence from the EPA to run the incinerator, having last year been granted planning permission for the facility by An Bord Pleanála. The hearing on the EPA proposal to grant the licence began in Dublin yesterday.
The permission granted by An Bord Pleanála, following a separate oral hearing last year, allowed for 600,000 tonnes of waste to be burned at the incinerator annually, but did not permit sewage sludge to be accepted by the facility.
However, the council said it does intend to seek permission to burn sludge at the incinerator, that the EPA has already proposed to give permission for this activity, and that burning sewage sludge at the plant would have environmental benefits.
"The Bord Pleanála planning approval does not allow for the acceptance of sludge at the facility, but this does not preclude the EPA from including this activity in its waste licence for the facility and it has recognised that it would be prudent to do so," assistant city manager Matt Twomey said.
However, he said that if sludge was incinerated at the plant it would not affect its overall capacity. The burning of sludge "would not alter the requirement to comply with all the emissions limits," Mr Twomey said.
The hearing was also attended yesterday by objectors to the licence. John Hawkins, a Ringsend resident for more than 60 years, called for the resignation of Minister for the Environment John Gormley because he had "fooled the Ringsend people" into believing that he would stop the incinerator.
The Irish Times