KILDARE County Council is seeking a wide variety of changes to a proposal for a waste treatment project near the Drehid landfill site in west Kildare writes Henry Bauress.
Concerns have been raised over potential damage to the water quality at Ballynafagh lake, an special conservation area, and, ultimately, to the Barrow river, from which the Council plans to extract water.
Councillors also feel the Environment Protection Agency is not up to the job of monitoring the current and proposed developments.
The planning permission for the mechanical biological treatment will not be decided by the Council but by Bord Pleanala, under the Strategic Infrastructure Act.
The proposal, which is accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement, by Bord na Mona owned, AES, has been seen by KCC officials and the County Manager’s proposed,report to Bord Pleanala, was discussed by councillors at their 30 July meeting.
The site is 4.km north of Allenwood and is 7.1km away from Ballynafagh lake.
Concerns raised by Council officials were echoed by councillors and the latter have demanded, in particular, a rise in the proposed payments and levies to cover costs to the Council.
Officials listed a number of roads and bridges, the repair of which these levies could apply.
It is anticipated that 60 heavy goods vehicles per day are on the local roads to bring the 360,000 tonnes per annum (tpa), in and out of the current site.
The HSE has called for an odour management plan and raised the issue of the Barrow water.
The company has said that 175 jobs will be created during the construction phase but the County Manager’s report includes calls for no night time construction work.
Around 74 permanent jobs are anticipated at the new plant.
Council expressed scepticism about the project potential for damage to the area and proposed levies and have recommended these trebled in some instances to pay for road damage.
Cllr. Brendan Weld said they had great concern still about the landfill.
There is also scepticism at the Environment Protection Agency’s capacity to monitor the project and members pointed to the failures at Kerdiffstown.
Cllr. Weld said the Council should have a stronger monitoring role and Cllr. Senan Griffin argued that given the “legacy of poor monitoring” at Kerdiffstown, he was concerned there would be an adequate monitoring by the EPA of water levels. “They (EPA) really screwed this county.”
Cllr. Padraig McEvoy said there was self regulation monitored by the EPA. But this was not up to requirement when odour problems arose. He said there had been a meeting between Council officials, the EPA and Clane area councillors “in camera” and he called for these bodies to sit down regularly to discuss issues.
He also said despite promises there were issues of litter coming out of trucks.
Cllr. Seamus Langan said there was no landfill like the Drehid one in Europe and the area was full of underground water resources which need protection. He also criticised the “veil of secrecy” surrounding some issues by Bord Na Mona who told him the company was under no obligation to give him reports on the pollution of lagoons. “The EPA are not capable of monitoring this site. They were depending on Bord na Mona to give them reports...on the biggest site of its kind in Europe,” he said.
Cllr. Langan said the lagoons are draining into the Cushaling river which will get to the Barrow and Bord na Mona did not want to address the issues of odour.
- Henry Bauress