EPA Prosecutes Schwarz Pharma Limited

On the 14th February 2006 at Ennis Circuit Court, Co Clare, Schwarz Pharma Limited pleaded guilty to 11 offences under Sections 8, 82 and 84 of the Environmental Protection Agency Acts, 1992 and 2003.

The company pleaded guilty to 11 separate charges for breaches of its Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) licence. The court was told that air emissions from the plant in August 2004 were up to 35 times the limits set out in the licence. Some of these emissions contained suspected carcinogens. In addition the company was charged for allowing emissions to the atmosphere through an unauthorised vent which was not allowed in any manner by its IPC licence. These emissions also contained organic solvents which have the potential to have adverse impacts on human health and the environment. The company was also charged for failing to notify the EPA of these emissions. The company also pleaded guilty to a further four charges in relation to poor on-site environmental management practices which had the potential to cause pollution.

This prosecution was taken following an audit by EPA inspectors in August 2004 and EPA air monitoring. The prosecution was originally taken by the EPA in Shannon District Court on 10th March 2005 but due to the seriousness of the offences was refused jurisdiction and was then referred to the DPP for prosecution on indictment.

On hearing details of the offences, Judge Carroll Moran imposed fines totalling €110,000 and the EPA’s costs of €42,000 were also awarded.

The company is involved in the manufacture of a wide range of fine chemicals for pharmaceutical use and was granted an IPC licence on 26th April 1996 (Reg. No. 20) for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products and their intermediates.

The EPA was successful in taking a previous prosecution against the company on 27th November 2003 following a comprehensive investigation into odour nuisance in the Shannon area.