Emissions of pollutants to air from large industrial activities in Ireland are reducing according to EPA report

Date released: Jun 10 2015, 4:51 PM

The EPA has today published a report on Ireland’s 2013 European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register for large industrial facilities.

The report summarises mass releases of specified pollutants above certain thresholds - to air, water, wastewater and off-site transfers of wastes - from facilities covered by the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register legislation.

The number of facilities that are covered by reporting requirements for pollutant releases and off-site waste transfers in 2013 is 369, which is a down from 380 facilities in 2012.  Facilities come from various sectors including energy, mineral, chemical, food and drink, intensive agriculture, waste and large urban waste water treatment plants.

Key Highlights:

  • The energy, mineral and chemical sectors reported the largest quantity of pollutant releases in 2013. Overall there was a reduction in pollutant releases from the energy (11 per cent decrease) and mineral (5 per cent decrease) sectors compared to 2012 with no significant change in the chemical sector.
  • ESB Moneypoint reported the largest quantities of Carbon Dioxide releases in 2013. Overall, releases of Carbon Dioxide decreased by 9 per cent compared to 2012 which is largely attributed to more renewables and less carbon-intensive fuels being used in electricity generation in 2013.
  • Releases of Ammonia to air were predominantly from the intensive agriculture sector and were marginally lower (2 per cent) in 2013 compared to 2012.
  • The main pollutant releases to water included Total Nitrogen, and Total Phosphorus. Total Phosphorus increased by 7 per cent compared to 2012 which is attributed to higher releases reported from a number of the large urban wastewater treatment plants. Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant reported the largest quantities of Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus releases in 2013.

Commenting on the latest published figures, Dr Jonathan Derham, EPA Programme Manager, said:

The data shows a positive downward trend for some of the key pollutants. This is particularly notable in terms of releases to air from the energy sector.  Here, we are seeing the impact of higher penetration of renewables in power generation in addition to the improvements in abatement measures over the last number of years.

“Trends in releases of pollutants to water are quite mixed.  Large urban waste water treatment plants continue to be the major source of releases of nutrients to water such as Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus and it is important that such plants implement ongoing nutrient removal measures to ensure compliance with their EPA licensing conditions.”

The EPA European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register Report for Ireland for 2013 is available on the EPA Website.

The European Commission has recently published 2013 European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register data including the 2013 data submitted by the EPA. This register is available here.

Notes to Editor:

In accordance with European and national Pollutant Release and Transfer Register legislation, operators of particular classes of activities that are listed in the legislation are required to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) their annual releases (to air, water, wastewater) and off-site transfers of waste, if above certain reporting thresholds. 91 specified pollutants are covered by the legislation.

Facilities include both EPA-licensed and non EPA-licensed industrial and waste management facilities, where relevant. These facilities are required to make returns, in the form and content specified by the EPA, of their annual releases (emissions) and off-site waste transfers for each calendar year. The EPA then carries out detailed quality checks on the submitted data before reporting the required data to the European Commission. The facility operators that are subject to reporting are required to assure the quality of the information that they report.

Fluctuations in the number of facility operators that are required to report and their emission levels can be attributed to various factors such as changes in level of economic activity, level of pollution abatement and increased accuracy in reporting.  EPA licensed operations are regulated and monitored by the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement in accordance with licence conditions.

The following table outlines the number of facilities for each activity sector that reported pollutant releases and off site transfers for 2013 and compares with 2012.

 

PRTR Sector

Number of facilities reporting releases and off-site transfers in 2013

Total facilities reportable 2013

 

 

Total facilities reportable 2012

Air

 

 

Water

Waste-Water

Waste

Energy sector

12

0

0

19

19

21

Production and processing of metals

1

0

0

10

11

12

Mineral industry (including quarries)

6

4

0

23

23

24

Chemical industry

6

1

4

56

56

59

Waste and wastewater management

38

8

1

105

112

107

Paper and wood production and processing

3

0

0

5

5

6

Intensive livestock production and aquaculture

82

0

0

3

82

82

Animal and vegetable products from the food and beverage sector

3

0

3

56

56

64

Other activities (e.g. surface treatment)

1

0

1

5

5

5

Total facilities

152

13

9

282

369

380

 Ireland’s Pollutant Release and Transfer Register is a national database of annual mass releases of specified pollutants to air, water, wastewater and off-site transfers of wastes above certain thresholds for the years 2007 to 2013. This national register can be viewed here.


 


 

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