The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned waste facilities to improve standards of operation and storage as it was revealed that six companies were fined a total of €86,000 for licensing breaches in 2013.
An EPA study showed Greyhound Recycling and Recovery in Dublin was fined €47,500, for odour nuisance and infrastructure failures. A fine of €12,000 was handed out to Oxigen Environmental, also in Dublin, for sending waste off-site to unauthorised lands without agreement.
AES Environmental Solutions in Offaly; Inagh Landfill in Clare; Gortadroma Landfill in Limerick and Behan’s Land Restoration in Kildare were each fined between €4,000 and €9,000 for offences such as odour nuisance, infrastructure failure and exceeding tonnage limits.
While waste facilities make up only 15% of all EPA licensees, they represent half of all legal action taken by the agency. In 2013, almost 550 complaints were made against EPA licensed waste sites, with 92% of complaints odour-related.
“There is a need for waste operators to improve environmental compliance by tackling priority areas such as odour management and waste handling. Residents living near waste facilities should not be subject to odour nuisance,” said Gerard O’Leary, director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement.
The Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA) said it was disappointed the EPA did not recognise major investment by the sector.
IWMA secretary Conor Walsh said significant investment, particularly in odour abatement technologies and changes to how waste was managed and stored, brought complaints in 2013 down by almost 70% from a peak in 2009.
While landfills and non-hazardous waste transfers make up 93% of complaints, the number of open landfills in Ireland has decreased.
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