More than 100 people from around East Cork lodged objections to the proposed plant, with many citing the location of the wastewater pipe at Rathcoursey as being of particular concern.
However, engineers for Dairygold said wastewater from the Midleton municipal area and nearby industry containing fats, oils and grease (known in the industry as “FOG”) was already entering this section of the harbour.
In a six-page submission on behalf of Dairygold Co Op, Malachy Walsh Engineers moved to refute many of the concerns of local residents.
“The residual concentration of Fats Oil Grease (FOG) in the the final treated wastewater at 15mg/l is the emission limit value determined by the EPA in respect of discharge from other industry into the same outfall,” it said. “The presence of FOG in treated wastewater is not unique to cheese manufacturing… but a characteristic of all domestic and municipal wastewaters as well as many industrial discharges”.
They also said Irish Water had recommended Rathcoursey as the site of the discharge pipe after Dairygold held consultations with them. Dairygold repeated that the new plant “would not cause a deterioration in water quality” and that this conclusion had been reached in its models without ever looking at the beneficial role of tidal exchange in the area.
It added that the pipe at Rathcoursey would only be pumping 2,700 of treated water into the waters per day even though its new wastewater treatment plant at Mogeely is designed for 4,000 per day.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that an expert report on Cork Harbour has contradicted claims made by Dairygold that waste from a planned new cheese plant will be “safely carried out to sea on outgoing tides”.
Hydrodynamic studies from NUI Galway showed the North Channel waters at Rathcoursey, where Dairygold wants to dump waste from its Mogeely plant, taking “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.
Dairygold Co-op is seeking to build a cheese processing plant in Mogeely, about 15km inland. Under the plans, waste from the plant will be pumped into East Ferry channel waters, having travelled from Mogeely via a 14km pipe 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.