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Carlow

Carlow company told to engage with EPA following complaints about strong odour

The council launched an investigation following complaints from residents.

AN INVESTIGATION BY Carlow County Council following complaints from local residents found that a manufacturing plant was above the local authority’s threshold for solvent use.

Springhill Kitchens, which manufactures kitchen units at its factory in Kernanstown Industrial Estate, has been told it will now need to engage with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a licence.

The council’s investigation follows complaints from local residents and politicians about a strong odour near the manufacturing facility.

One resident, Tee O’Hara, told The Journal that she first complained to the council about the smell in April of this year.

“It is so strong I have to close my windows as the smell invades the house,” she said. “It is still here this week – six months later.

“They have now, finally, been referred to the EPA.”

In response to a query from The Journal about actions it had taken to investigate the strong odour in the area, the council’s Environment Team said:

Carlow County Council has determined in accordance with European Union (Installations and Activities using Organic Solvents) Regulations 2012, that the usage is above the threshold for local authority certification for the use of solvents.

The council said the matter has been notified to the EPA.

There are regulations governing solvent emissions from 20 specified activities. The activities of small businesses are under the control of the local authorities while larger businesses require EPA licensing.

Activities using more than 10 tonnes per annum of solvents require an Integrated Pollution Prevention & Control (IPPC) licence from the EPA.

Following complaints from residents Carlow County Council conducted surveys on noise levels, burning of materials and the use of solvents at Springhill Kitchens.

Compliant

The council was satisfied that the company was compliant on regulations governing noise and the burning of materials. 

However, it determined that Springhill Kitchens was above the solvents threshold for local authority certification. The council has advised the company to engage with the EPA for licensing and has referred its file to the agency for further assessment.

Independent councillor John Cassin has made a number of representations to the council about the odour on behalf of local residents.

“A good few neighbours have complained about it, it’s a fairly strong odour,” he told The Journal

Cassin said the company had responded to complaints about noise in the past and had worked to reduce noise levels. 

“So I’m hoping the EPA will come in now and they can work together to get a successful outcome,” he said. “They’re a good employer, they employ a lot of people in the area, but at the same time they obviously have to address this.”

The EPA told The Journal it has not received an application or other communications from the company in relation to this matter. Springhill Kitchens did not respond to several requests for comment.

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