The site in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, where Indaver Ireland have applied to build two incinerators is again seriously flooded. Warnings of flooding on this site were given at the recent Oral Hearing by Hydrogeologist, Shane Bennett and the Office of Public Works (OPW). Photos attached (Sat 21 Nov, high res on request) show the proposed hazardous waste storage area completely submerged.
Local resident, Audrey Hogan, Secretary of the Ringaskiddy Residents Association said “Seeing this area underwater is not new. We know this site floods, we see it regularly, and the area has been identified as high risk by the OPW. That alone should be grounds for a planning refusal.” (OPW flood maps - http://www.floodmaps.ie/View/Default.aspx)
CHASE Chairperson, Mary O’Leary said “The World Health Organisation clearly states that Hazardous Waste Facilities should not be built on flood plains. This site clearly fails that Selection Criteria and in addition to repeated flooding episodes, successive reports by the OPW and EPA have pinpointed the Ringaskiddy coastal area as vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and flooding.
Flooding in the storage area could cause a major accident scenario and engineering solutions proposed will only worsen soakage in the surrounding areas, increasing risk to students in the Maritime College, and potentially cutting off access to the College and Haulbowline. No insurer in their right mind would give flood insurance to this plant, even if it does get planning.”
The flooding issue was raised at the 2009 Oral Hearing where Representatives from the Office of Public Works (OPW) in attendance confirmed that there was an expectation of exceptionally high tides and surges in the area. They repeated concerns that the site was highly vulnerable, and expressed further concern about access to the site in the case of flooding, citing the 28/29 October 2004 floods on the proposed site as very significant.
Further evidence presented to An Bord Pleanala by Hydrogeologist Shane Bennett, who referred to a letter submitted into evidence by climatologist, Prof John Sweeney, left no doubt about site unsuitability. Mr Bennett, giving his flooding assessment, said that combining a 1m sea level rise* (ref Prof John Sweeney) with a 3m surge for a 1 in 100 year storm (Oxford 1989) would suggest a 4m flood level, which when combined with a 4.2m Spring Tide Level "would have catastrophic consequences for this site".
Flood levels during the October 2004 storm surges (2.85metres OD) would have resulted in the entire waste transfer area being flooded.
A decision by An Bord Pleanala on the Ringaskiddy Incinerator is due by 4 December.