Dust Release at Irish Cement, Limerick, 03 December 2017

Date released: Dec 11 2017

The EPA was informed on 03 December 2017 of an incident at the site of Irish Cement, Castlemungret, Co. Limerick.  The Licensee advised that a blockage occurred at the inlet to the onsite rotary kiln at approximately 10:15am on Sunday 03 December 2017. The blockage caused the escape of a quantity of “raw meal” (a mix of limestone, shale and other raw materials) onto the ground below, resulting in an emission to air.
A number of complaints were received by the EPA from residents in the area relating to the deposition of dust on cars and property as a result of the incident. The EPA understands that Irish Cement Ltd provided car wash facilities for affected residents.
An EPA Inspector visited the site on the morning of 04 December to assess the situation. The inspector confirmed that the incident had occurred and that the kiln had been stopped following the release to allow for an inspection of the kiln. A cleanup of the spilled material was carried out. The inspector took samples of dusts deposited on a number of cars in the vicinity as well as on the site. The EPA will continue to monitor and assess the situation.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) Mid-West have advised that exposure to the dust while in the air may have had the potential to cause minor irritation, mainly of the eye. The recommended treatment for this is washing of the eyes, face and skin. Should any symptoms persist, HSE Mid-West recommends consulting a GP.
The EPA will require a full investigation and assessment report in relation to this incident, which will address corrective and preventative actions to be taken to prevent recurrence. On foot of this information, further action will be considered by the EPA in line with our enforcement policy.
The priority for the EPA is to ensure that the necessary infrastructure and management practices are in place to eliminate the causes of this type of incident and protect the environment.