Refurbishment work has been completed at the Crymlyn Burrows £32 million incinerator in South Wales after a series of “disappointing” emissions breaches were detected over the summer.
The Environment Agency Wales announced last week that the work was agreed following investigations by its officers and the plant operator, Neath Port Talbot (Recycling) Limited – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Neath Port Talbot council.
The 170,000 tonnes-a-year capacity Crymlyn Burrows plant is used primarily to treat residual waste from Neath Port Talbot council and Bridgend county borough council. There is also a mechanical recycling unit on site which separates out recyclable waste from the residual waste before it is incinerated.
Officers discussed the breaches in June and August with health specialists from Public Health Wales in conjunction with the Health Protection Agency , who confirmed that short releases at the detected levels had “no significant concerns” and that subsequent health risks were “extremely low”.
Both the Environment Agency Wales and Public Health Wales voiced concern about the succession of breaches in such a short space of time and worked with the operator to ensure it took necessary precautions at the site.
Mary Youell, from Environment Agency Wales, said: “The operator has responded well to these disappointing breaches and has taken action to establish reasons for the breaches and then to remedy the situation.
“We audit any site we regulate to make sure it does not breach any limit set in its environmental permit. If it does we will not hesitate to take action to rectify the situation.”
Neath Port Talbot (Recycling) Limited was unavailable for comment.
Following the breach in June, Agency officers requested additional dioxin samples, with the one taken in mid-July being found to be within permitted levels. However, a subsequent breach was found in August before full refurbishment work at the plant was completed.
Emissions tests were then taken at the end of September and further testing is planned for late October, this is to ensure that the refurbishment work at the site has been successful.
A local liaison committee was informed of the breaches at its meeting at the end of September and updated on work being undertaken by the Agency and the plant operator.
This is not the first instance of the Crymlyn Burrows site failing emissions tests, having been served an enforcement notice by the Environment Agency under its previous owners, Portuguese firm HLC, in March 2003 (see letsrecycle.com story).
And, the site has had a chequered history, having been hit by fire in August 2003 which led to HLC being banned from accepting waste at the plant due to concerns over pollution in the water used to extinguish the blaze (see letsrecycle.com story).
This was followed by the HLC going into administration in 2006, with Neath Port Talbot council being granted permission to purchase equipment left at the site (see letsrecycle.com story).