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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 26 January 2021

No, the Poolbeg incinerator hasn't started burning waste just yet

The plant has been gearing up for its first day of operations, in a process known as ‘hot commissioning’.

poolbeg A reader sent this picture in saying this has been the view for the last two nights driving home through Sandymount. Source: TJ Reader

THE CONTROVERSIAL POOLBEG incinerator is due to start-up in the very near future, with locals apprehensively waiting (not in a good way) for that first plume of smoke.

Although the plant is opposed by most Dublin city councillors, Dublin City’s CEO Owen Keegan says the facility is badly needed.

The state-of-the-art plant will burn ‘black bin waste’ that can’t be recycled, which has locals and environmentalists concerned about the effect it will have on healthcare.

It’s expected that the first day of operations, although they’ll only be at 20% of its full capacity, will reveal how intrusive the plant could be.

But there have been reports over the past two days that the incinerator has already been fired up, with plumes visible both during the day, and at night.

But this isn’t the first load of waste being burned – this is something known as ‘hot commissioning’, according to Dublin Waste-to-Energy.

“During this part of the commissioning programme,” they said today, “Only fuel oil was used for the heating of the boilers. No waste has been burnt to-date.”

The small quantities of waste received at the site has been used for the purpose of commissioning the weigh-bridge and the cranes.

They’ve said that this process has finished now, and a further information bulletin will be issued when first fire of waste commences.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Hot commissioning is when the refractory bricks on the boilers are dried out using oil burners.

This goes on for about 48 hours and produces a lot of steam.

“Following the boil outs the boiler tubes and piping will need to be cleaned out using steam. Again steam will be visible from the facility and there may also be some noise associated with this operation.”

Landfill fires

Managing director of Covanta Ireland John Daly addressed questions about fire safety in a recent interview on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, saying they were a hazard of the business in the waste sector.

“Everybody who has ever lived near a landfill will know that there are landfill fires,” Daly said. “Waste is a product where people put things like barbecue coals, they put ashes from fires into their bins – that can cause fires.”

Heat and infra-red sensors have been installed, he said. Two tanks containing a million litres of water have also been installed less than five metres from the waste-intake area, Daly added, and there are also high-powered water hoses on hand.

Strict limits have been set for emissions at the plant, and inspectors from the Environmental Protection Agency have been visiting the site regularly in recent months.

Read: The controversial Poolbeg incinerator has taken its first delivery of waste

Read: ‘I suppose we’re f****** stuck with it’: The Poolbeg incinerator is starting production

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