Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is working with recycling company South Wales Wood Recycling Ltd to tackle an ongoing fire at its Newport Dock facility.
Fires occurred in mid-November after a number of hotspots within the 18-20,000 tonnes of woodchip waste stored at the site were exposed. An issue of smoke has arisen through the efforts of extinguishing the break-outs.
In order to combat the issue, the operator is working with NRW and removing waste from the facility to try and reduce the amount of wood that could potentially catch alight.
Ashley Lansdown, NRW Industry and waste regulation team leader, said: “The operator has been working with NRW, the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Public Health Wales to ensure the impact to both the environment and nearby communities is minimised.
“The operator is taking advice of digging out the hotspots, spreading and dampening down the waste to cool it down”.
South Wales Wood Recycling handles up to 2,000 tonnes per month of civic amenity wood, construction and demolition wood as well as broken pallets and cases, which it collects in its 80 skips situated around south Wales.
The waste wood is shredded and screened to supply chipboard factories, carbon neutral power systems and for animal bedding.
letsrecycle.com contacted South Wales Wood Recycling, but a spokesman for the firm said that they did not wish to offer comment on the matter.
Public Health Wales
Alongside fire control action, the recycling company has been working with Public Health Wales to ensure the safety of local residents.
The agency has suggested that people living in areas affected by the smoke should stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed.
Sarah Jones, consultant in Environmental Health Protection, Public Health Wales, said: “Smoke can irritate air passages, the skin and the eyes leading to coughing and wheezing, breathlessness and chest pain. It can also worsen existing problems such as asthma and people with asthma should carry their inhaler with them at all times.
“These symptoms usually disappear very soon and should not lead to any long term health problems.”
Ms Jones went on to say that NRW environment officers will continue to work with Public Health Wales to monitor the situation and start to establish what steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of future fire and smoke break outs.