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A cyclist glaces at the Poolbeg incinerator plant from the promenade. Sam Boal/
Safety Concerns

Emissions data from first week of activity at Poolbeg incinerator yet to be published

Yesterday, 11 people were treated at hospital after an ‘uncontrolled release’ in the newly-opened plant.

THE COMPANY THAT owns and runs the Poolbeg incinerator has yet to publish emissions data from its first week.

While Covanta’s controversial Dublin Waste-to-Energy plant burned its first delivery of waste last Thursday, it told yesterday that it had not yet operated for a full 24 hours on any one day and therefore wouldn’t be able to compile “rolling 24-hour average data”.

A spokesperson for Covanta said:

The data to be presented is rolling 24 hour average data. To date the plant has not been operating for a 24 hour period to present this information.

The company says it plans to publish the emissions data when it commences commercial operations.

The company has been publishing real-time information on its two boilers’ furnace temperatures on its website, as required as part of its license.

Late on Wednesday night, 11 workers were sent to hospital after an ‘uncontrolled release’ of lime in the plant. Two people remained in hospital yesterday in relation to the incident.

The company said that the incident on Wednesday did not raise fresh concerns about the emissions generated by the plant.

As part of Covanta’s agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the organisation that agreed to the plant’s activities on certain conditions – the plant must publish regular updates of the environmental effect it is having.

Although the company can decide what exactly it wishes to publish regularly, furnace temperatures are a requirement, and in a submission last year, the company said it would publish graphs of its emissions at the end of every week.

The company’s agreement requires it to “maintain a weekly summary of continuous emission monitoring data via the Internet”.

According to the EPA, in July of last year Dublin Waste-to-Energy proposed that this would include:

1. A tabular representation of the daily averages from the continuous monitoring for Total Dust, Gaseous and vaporous organic substances expressed as Total Organic Carbon, Hydrogen Chloride, Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur Dioxide and Oxides of Nitrogen emitted from each stack A2-1 and A2-2 shall be displayed one week behind.
2. A graphical (bar chart) representation showing rolling annual averages based on the cumulative daily averages for Total Organic Carbon, Hydrogen Chloride, Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur Dioxide and Oxides of Nitrogen emitted from each stack A2-1 and A2-2 shall be displayed one week behind.
3. Real time 30 minute averages for temperature be shown in text format.

The company did not indicate to when it believed it would have enough data gathered to make its emissions record public.

Read: 11 workers taken to hospital after ‘uncontrolled release’ in Poolbeg incinerator

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