An expert report on Cork harbour has contradicted claims made by Dairygold that waste from a planned cheese plant will be “safely carried out to sea on outgoing tides”.
Hydrodynamic studies from NUI Galway show that the North Channel waters at Rathcoursey, where Dairygold wants to dump waste from its Mogeely plant, can take “in excess of 70 days” to “flush out”.
David Hugh-Jones from Atlantic Shellfish, who once ran a seafood business in this section of the harbour, sent the 2011 reports to Cork County Council as part of his objection to the planning permission application.
Like many residents in the area, he welcomes the new plant but has issues with where Dairygold wants to discharge 3m litres of waste.
It is understood that 2,806 litres of waste are to be pumped out of the pipe per minute, and potentially up to 3m litres per day.
“This is a virtually stagnant water body with negligible water exchange and a residence time of over 70 days,” said Mr Hugh-Jones. “This means that Rathcoursey is absolutely not the place to dispose of more waste.”
Dairygold Co-op is seeking to build a cheese processing plant in Mogeely, about 15km inland. Under the plans, waste from the Mogeely plant will be pumped into East Ferry channel waters, having travelled from Mogeely via a 14km pipe running through the townland of Rathcoursey. The outfall pipe where the waste will enter the water is 8km from open sea.
The waste will have undergone treatment at a new wastewater treatment plant at Mogeely and will contain fats, oil, and grease, known as ‘FOG’ in the industry.
The company’s environmental impact study says that the wastewater will be carried to sea safely on outgoing tides and all discharges will be in line with EPA standards.
A Dairygold spokesman said: “The Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] and Natura Impact Statement [NIS] consider the environmental impact of the proposed additional discharge at the existing licenced outfall at Rathcoursey.
“As outlined in the EIS, the prudent and conservative calculations used to assess the impact of the discharge on the receiving waters, and also considered as part of the NIS, did not take account of any beneficial effect of water exchange.
“Therefore the conclusion is that the Dairygold discharge will have negligible impact even before the benefit of water exchange is factored in, regardless of the rate of exchange.”
Irish Water said that the outfall pipe at Rathcoursey discharges water via a tidal holding tank that “is a combination of treated domestic, commercial, institutional and industrial wastewater, and stormwater from the Midleton agglomeration”.
East Ferry waters like a pond, claim local objectors
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved