EPA Statement re Prime Time Programme 7 Jan 2016 featuring ENVA

Date released: Jan 07 2016

Environmental Protection Agency Statement re Prime Time programme on ENVA Ireland Limited, Portlaoise
8th January 2016

Following last night’s Prime Time programme featuring ENVA Ireland Ltd in Portlaoise, the EPA would like to reiterate some vital points it made many times to the programme makers, and in all key correspondence, but which did not come through in the programme that finally aired.

  • The EPA carried out a comprehensive review of the activities of ENVA following concerns raised about emissions from the facility.  This included a comprehensive review of air emissions. An interim status report was published on 13th May 2015 and is available on the EPA website.
  • Prior to the publication, of the Interim Report just mentioned, complaints about the facility were infrequent and sporadic. A total of 13 complaints were received about odour and air emissions in all of the years since 2009 to May 2015, with no complaints received in some years. Every complaint, however, was comprehensively investigated and is documented in the EPA Interim Report.
  • The number of complaints escalated in 2015 - 32 complaints were received from the public between June and September 2015.  The EPA investigated these complaints and detected odours at nuisance levels in the vicinity of the facility.  The EPA prosecuted Enva Ireland Ltd. in December 2015 and the successful prosecution was assisted by members of the public who gave evidence of odour nuisance.
  • The primary focus of the EPA’s review related to air emissions from the reprocessing of waste oil to produce a fuel oil.  This interim report documented the comprehensive review of air emissions from the ENVA facility and assessment of historical environmental information. In addition, the EPA carried out (and continues to do so), air quality monitoring in the vicinity of the ENVA facility in Clonminam and in Portlaoise Town.  Air quality has at all times – and continues to be – within ambient air quality guideline values. 
  • The EPA is satisfied that emissions from the facility, (as monitoring results show), do not give rise to a breach of EU or National air quality standards or guidelines designed to protect human health and the environment. This monitoring continues and the EPA’s investigation file remains open. The EPA will continue to measure air quality in the vicinity of the site and investigate complaints, and will take appropriate enforcement action including further legal action, if necessary, to ensure that residents are not exposed to nuisance odours from this facility. 
  • Members of the public are encouraged to contact the EPA in the event of experiencing odour nuisance either through the EPA website or at 053-916 0600 (24 hours).

Brief context:

  • ENVA Ireland Ltd., Portlaoise is a hazardous waste management facility, operating under Industrial Emissions Licence Reg. Number W0184-01.   It has been licensed by the EPA since 1999. 
  • The EPA has a commendable track record in licensing, regulation and enforcement and is proud to be an independent scientific regulator. An external and independent Review of the EPA, carried out by an expert Review Group and presented to the Minister for the Environment in May 2011, endorsed the role and performance of the EPA. Findings included that the EPA overall has provided ‘considerable benefit for Ireland’s environment and for the health and well-being of its people’ and that ‘the environmental expertise within the EPA is a significant national resource’.
  • With respect to enforcement of industry, the report stated that: “Demonstrable improvements in respect for the environment and the standards of operations of relevant facilities have resulted from the introduction of the EPA’s licensing regimes.”
  • A separate study conducted and released in 2010 by Researchers from Trinity College, Dublin found that pollution emissions from EPA regulated industry had fallen due to regulation. The study found that between 2001 and 2007 there were aggregate pollution reductions of 22% for the Chemical sector, 28% for the Food & Drink sector, 40% for the Pharmaceutical sector and 45% for the Power Generation sector.