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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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The EPA is taking legal action after the lime leak at the Poolbeg incinerator

While 11 staff were hospitalised, Covanta said that no members of the public were in danger from the incident.

The incinerator is set to fire up again in the coming days.
The incinerator is set to fire up again in the coming days.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated 7.05pm

THE LIME LEAK at the Poolbeg incinerator was caused by an incorrectly fitted hopper door gasket from an external contractor, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated legal proceedings against the company who operate the site.

Covanta, the company that runs the Waste-to-Energy plant, released a statement today outlining the cause, saying that the EPA had determined that there was no danger to the public following the incident.

The hopper door gasket refers to the initial entry point for the refuse waste and the seals on that door were incorrectly fitted, the company said.

Eleven people were brought to hospital last month following an ‘unscheduled’ release of lime from the plant’s fabric filter baghouse, which filters emissions during the burning process.

While operations were suspended at Poolbeg following the leak, the conclusion of an investigation from the Health and Safety Authority has allowed the recommencement of facility operations, Covanta said.

The EPA has also recommended recommencement, and burning is set to restart at the incinerator in the coming days.

The agency has however, launched legal proceedings against Covanta following the lime leak incident, and a “a number of other incidents which resulted in breaches of the licence conditions during the first week of operation”.

A spokesperson told TheJournal.ie: “On foot of its assessment of the incidents, the EPA has initiated legal proceedings against the company.”

In its statement, Covanta said: “Covanta wishes to re-state its absolute commitment to the safety of our workers, our contractors and the community, and will continue to work with our neighbours and the appropriate authorities to demonstrate this enduring commitment.”

Read: Parents gather to discuss effect of ‘incredibly stupid’ Poolbeg incinerator

Read: ‘We need clean air. We do not need accidents’: Locals’ fury as 11 incinerator staff hospitalised

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Sean Murray

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