Half of legal actions taken by EPA in 2013 were against waste operators

Date released: Mar 04 2015, 3:38 PM

  • Over 90 per cent of complaints to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about waste facilities concern odour. 
  • Standards of operation and storage at waste facilities must improve to minimise odour nuisance and fire hazard.
  • Local Authority enforcement of the waste sector needs to be better co-ordinated.

The EPA Licensed Sites - 2013 Report on Waste Enforcement released today, shows that half of legal actions taken by the EPA were against waste facilities. Waste licences, which represent 15 per cent of EPA licences, are disproportionately represented in EPA legal actions.

Commenting on the report Mr. Gerard O’Leary, Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said;

“In 2014 the EPA carried out 275 inspections at waste facilities. 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. The EPA will continue to take strong enforcement action to tackle these priority areas.”

Some key findings of the 2013 report:

  • Almost 550 complaints were received about EPA licensed waste sites. 92 per cent of these related to odour.
  • The EPA carried out 275 inspections at waste licensed sites.
  • 6 prosecutions were taken, with fines and costs totalling €86,000.
  • Increased storage of waste prior to export leading to compliance issues at waste transfer stations

Mr. Jim Moriarty, Manager, EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement added that waste companies need to operate their facilities better:

“There is no excuse for poor performance. Under the conditions of their licence waste operators are not permitted to exceed waste tonnage limits and must ensure that the necessary infrastructure to prevent odour nuisance is in place and operating correctly. There have been a number of fires also at waste facilities in recent years, and improved practices must be implemented to minimise fire hazards.”

There are over 600 waste facilities permitted by local authorities in Ireland and over 1,000 waste collection permits in force. The EPA concludes that a reorganisation of local authority enforcement structures would lead to a targeted, timely and more effective enforcement.
In conclusion, Mr Moriarty said;

“The waste market has changed in recent years.  The movement of waste between regions and throughout the country has increased. The processing and export of waste has also dramatically increased. Better co-ordination between the 31 local authorities would deliver an improvement in standards in the waste sector.”

The report, EPA Licensed Sites - 2013 Report on Waste Enforcement is now available on the EPA Website.

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