Over 1,000 complain of waste site smells

Almost 1,000 complaints about smell and noise from waste and industrial facilities were made to the Environmental Protection Agency last year.

According to its annual report on air emissions, the performance of over 750 EPA-licensed sites in controlling pollutant emissions to atmosphere was found to be “generally very good”.

However, a small number of sites breached the requirements of their licences, with the main issues of public concern being odour and noise nuisance.

In total, the EPA received 788 complaints in relation to odour from licensed sites. Ten sites accounted for nearly 70% of complaints.

Some 98% of odour complaints related to waste management along with food- and drink-processing activities.

Three prosecutions were taken by the EPA in relation to odour nuisance, resulting in court fines and costs in excess of €28,000. More prosecutions are pending.

The EPA received 149 complaints in relation to noise from licensed sites, with 80% of the problems related to five sites. The food- and drink-processing sector accounted for 64% of the complaints.

The EPA initiated 49 formal investigations in relation to air quality, odour, and noise issues at licensed sites. A total of 12 related to food- and drink-processing sites, a further 12 concerned waste-transfer stations, and seven were landfill sites.

More than 500 independent tests of emissions to air at EPA-licensed sites were carried out. Twenty-three of the tests (4%) found emissions which were not in compliance with the licence requirements.

The director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, Gerard O’Leary, said people living near industrial and waste sites should not be exposed to nuisance odours and noise pollution. “Historically, waste management activities were the dominant source of odour complaints received by the EPA,” he said.

“However, the food and drink sector now accounts for 40% of all odour complaints and 64% of all noise complaints.

“The EPA will continue to use enforcement powers to bring the operators of these facilities into line and ensure they improve their environmental performance and achieve compliance with their licence requirements.”

Mr O’Leary said the EPA investigates all complaints received from the public and encouraged people to continue to report problems.


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