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Irish Times - 26-02-05
Report cites danger of blast at incinerator site
Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

Lorries with dangerous substances destined for the proposed hazardous waste incinerator at Ringaskiddy would have to park 200 metres from the new National Maritime College of Ireland while having loads tested, it emerged at an EPA oral hearing yesterday.

Mr Conor Jones, Indaver Ireland site services manager, confirmed that lorries with dangerous substances would have to park at the gate of the complex for an hour or two so that Indaver staff could take samples to establish load composition precisely.

Mr Nick Loughnan of Cork Environmental Alliance said this was worrying as the firm's Hazard Identification (HAZID) report recognised the possibility of an explosion at the site.

"The fact that you would put tankers there for a minute shows me the grasp you have of how dangerous it is," said Mr Loughnan, adding that the HAZID report also stated a vapour cloud explosion at the site could break windows at the college and force the occupants to stay indoors.

Dr Jonathan Derham, chairman of the EPA hearing, accepted such an explosion would need a combined set of circumstances but asked if there was anywhere else to park a trailer with high risk material considered unsuitable for the incinerator.

Mr Jones said trucks could be parked in another controlled area behind the building overnight but Dr Derham questioned the wisdom of such a move given that tankers could contain dangerous substances.

"If you had a tanker-load of material deemed particularly dangerous, do you propose to park it in the unloading area where there are others. Is it the safest place for quarantine?" asked Dr Derham on the hearing's 10th day.

Mr Jones said they would also have an isolated quarantine area for these trucks in their waste transfer station where there is controlled drainage. Dry link couplers would be used for all tanker unloading operations and pipes regularly checked for leaks, he added.

Earlier, Mr John Ahern, Indaver Ireland general manager, told Mr Joe Noonan, solicitor for Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment, that if Indaver got the go-ahead for the incinerator, it would apply to Cork County Council to dump non-hazardous ash at the Bottlehill landfill.

Mr Noonan asked Mr Ahern where in the firm's Environmental Impact Statement did a "worst-impact scenario" outline how many people would be harmed, where they lived, who was most vulnerable and how long the harm would last?

Mr Ahern said Indaver had hired consultants to compile the EIS. "I'm not an expert in this area - that's why we hired the best people to prepare an EIS and they tell me the EIS is adequate and we believe they did a good job." When Mr Noonan later repeated the question, Mr Ahern said he would need time to consult the full EIS as it was a lengthy document and if Mr Noonan had given him notice, he could have briefed himself on it fully.

But Mr Noonan said he had asked Mr Ahern the same question at An Bord Pleanála's hearing in October 2003 and he had given him the same reply.

"I gave you 1½ years. How much notice do you want?" asked Mr Noonan.


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
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