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'Absolutely farcical': EPA report into Portlaoise waste facility slammed

Senator John Whelan has called today’s interim EPA report into the Enva plant in the midlands town a “complete whitewash”.

AN INTERIM ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency (EPA) report into a waste management plant in Portlaoise has been described as “a whitewash” and “farcical in the extreme” by Labour Senator John Whelan.

The EPA’s report concerns waste emissions from the Enva waste management facility in Portlaoise, a row which has been brewing for at least 15 years.

Over that time local residents in Portlaoise have consistently complained about the odours emanating from the plant, while last month it was revealed that the plant had been leaking carcinogens into the atmosphere.

Today’s report concludes that:

  • Air quality in the vicinity of the plant is within ambient air quality guideline values
  • No problems with odour nuisance were identified following EPA surveys in 2014 and 2015

The EPA review looked at the plant’s environmental regulations and controls, the EPA’s own enforcement activities, and existing emissions information, together with additional measurements and assessments.

“The EPA has found no evidence of environmental impact as a result of air emissions from the facility,” the agency said in a statement.

EPA air quality monitoring is on-going in the vicinity of the facility and the interim status report will be updated when the programme of monitoring is completed.

john whelan Senator John Whelan Source: Photocall

Panic Button

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Whelan said that he’s “not surprised” with the EPA’s findings.

“It’s a complete whitewash, and will be seen as such in the fullness of time,” he said.

To suggest that there are no problems with odours, for starters, at the plant is absolutely farcical.
If you want my honest opinion I think the EPA has pushed the panic button in releasing this report.
They are getting their retaliation in early because they know that substantive evidence regarding the Enva plant will hit the public domain in the near future, evidence that will vindicate my and the Portlaoise community’s position.

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Describing the EPA’s investigation processes as “tyre-kicking exercises”, Whelan claims their enforcement practices require a “drastic overhaul”.

“They need to be able to admit shortcomings and problems,” he says.

This report was due last November, yet the first I heard of its publication today was via the media.
I think it being published today is no coincidence.

When contacted by TheJournal.ie and Enva spokesman said: ”We have always maintained that the operations of our Portlaoise plant don’t have a significant impact on local air quality.”

The regular monitoring that we have carried out at the plant has confirmed this and we note the EPA’s investigations have also determined this to be the case.
Enva is a responsible company and has always operated to high standards and in compliance with our licencing conditions.
We aspire to be an integral member of the community in which we operate and are committed to applying the highest possible standards to the operation of our Portlaoise facility.

Enva’s plant at Portlaoise harvests and processes waste oil from around the country.

Read: “To err is human, to cover up is inexcusable” – eight babies died at Portlaoise Hospital

Read: 25 children treated after chemical fumes incident at swimming pool

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