AN additional 45 submissions have been made to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since the end of July, when the Waterford News & Star reported that just 10 people had contacted the EPA about an application by Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) for a licence review that would allow them to build a new installation to be used for the rendering of animal carcasses.
Included in the submissions was a joint one by Waterford City & County Council’s Metropolitan District, as well as two separate submissions from Independent Councillor Mary Roche. In addition to a number of individual submissions, there is also a joint one from the residents of the Ard Daire housing estate in Ferrybank.
The ‘Waterford Proteins’ plant was constructed in 1972 and was originally operated by Clover Meats as a rendering plant. Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) acquired the facility and the adjacent beef processing plant in 1985 and has operated it as a rendering plant since. The 5.5 hectare site is located in a primarily industrial area of Christendom in Ferrybank, which is within Kilkenny County Council’s functional area but has a Waterford postal address.
There are two residential dwellings located 125m and 250m south of the site and a housing development located approximately 400m north of the site. Presently, ABP deals with 375 tonnes of raw material on a daily basis. If their licence review is accepted, that will increase to 600 tonnes per day. A submission from the HSE stated: “The Environmental Health Service recommends that the EPA are satisfied that current odour mitigations measures and odour abatement systems have the capability to address any potential increase in odour emissions arising as a result of this increased volume of raw material.” They proposed that a weekly odour monitoring programme is undertaken at the northern and north eastern site boundary during the summer months (June to September inclusive) to “assess the long-term maximum odour concentrations at these locations and to verify the effectiveness of on-site odour mitigation measures”.
The suggestion that ABP was satisfactorily managing any potential odour problems and would be able to manage a significant increase in output was refuted by a number of other submissions.
On behalf of Waterford City & County Council Metropolitan Area, Fergus Galvin made a submission to the EPA stating that the elected councillors of the Waterford Metropolitan District Council wanted to record their “very serious concerns” about the adverse impacts on Waterford City of the current operation of the ABP plant at Christendom, Ferrybank, the “ongoing lack of effectiveness of the emissions monitoring regimes in place and objects to the planned expansion of the capacity of this plant”.
“Since the plant commenced operations some years ago it has frequently been and continues to be the source of significant foul odour nuisances in Waterford City giving rise to ongoing public representation and complaint,” the Council submission stated. “Foul odours from the plant are a relatively frequent occurrence in large parts of Waterford City and the impacts are particularly severe in the eastern parts of the city given the close proximity of the plant (less than 1km) to Waterford city centre, University Hospital Waterford, six schools (national and secondary) in the Newtown area and the densely populated residential areas on the Dunmore Road in the city. The Council is of the view that the current monitoring and control of emissions from the plant are grossly inadequate and that these need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
On behalf of the residents of Ard Daire Housing Estate in Ferrybank, Paul Malone wrote: “For years now we have been putting up with the rotten odours from the ABP (Waterford Proteins) rendering plant in Ferrybank. Many public meetings have been held over the years where residents complained about both the sickly stench from the factory and also the trucks bringing the material there. There are over 60 homes on our estate and over the years a large percentage of the residents have complained about the plant. Basically, asking if anything can be done to control the stench. Residents complain about having to close their windows, take in washing and feel that they cannot enjoy their gardens when the smell is there. Very many of the residents have given up voicing their concerns as nothing seems to improve the situation.”
A gentleman who moved to Ferrybank with his family two years ago made a submission objecting to the proposed expansion of the rendering facility and suggesting that it instead be moved “to a more suitable location with the correct infrastructure such as Bellview Port”.
“Myself, my wife and three children moved to Ferrybank about two years ago,” Mr Joe Culleton said. “Since then the abhorrent stench that emanates from the rendering plant and the trucks transporting the carcasses frequently forces us to effectively lock ourselves indoors until the smell dies down or a change in wind direction gives us some respite. Surely this is not acceptable. The European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003, Schedule 2, Article 1 – ‘Protection of Property’ states that ‘Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions.’ Having to barricade ourselves indoors with all windows shut on a hot summer’s day is hardly conducive to the peaceful enjoyment of our property. Having to tolerate the toxic odours from the ABPI rendering plant affects the human rights of the people of Ferrybank and Waterford City.”
In July, a spokesperson from ABP issued the following statement to the Waterford News & Star: “ABP is currently engaged with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on a routine license review for its Ferrybank plant. ABP is fully cooperating with the EPA on this matter, which is currently underway. The company which has operated in Ferrybank for almost 50 years, is fully compliant with the EPA license for its plant at Ferrybank and the licenses for all of its other plants across the country. The company regularly engages with the EPA on a variety of matters including announced and unannounced site visits.”