13 May 2001

Ispat says that surface dust is non-hazardous

By Niall Murray
Irish Examiner 13/5/01

IRISH Ispat has responded to strong objections made by the Naval Service against conditions for a licence to allow the steel company continue its operations. While the Naval Service submission made at the end of March wished Ispat well, their safety adviser Lieutenant Colonel Randal Counihan expressed concern about the health of Naval personnel on the Haulbowline base alongside the 400-job steel plant.

Lt Col Counihan said the continued use of Rocky Island for storing hazardous and other waste would pose an unacceptable health and environmental hazard. He requested the steel company's landfill be closed because of danger from surface dust.

In response to these objections, Irish Ispat wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency saying the main component of the dust is slag, which is non-hazardous. Ispat's quality and environment manager, Keith Bywater wrote the dumping of slag and mill-scale on the landfill and their subsequent sale are bona fide industrial/recycling operations.

The company also said it is working to solve the problem of occasional emissions of black smoke through the plant's chimney stack.

A group of EPA inspectors must decide whether to grant a full Integrated Pollution Licence to Irish Ispat, laying down conditions on noise pollution and emissions. The EPA will consider objections to the draft licence issued in March.


17 January 2001

EPA may seek court order to close Irish Ispat

RTÉ News 17/1/01

The Environmental Protection Agency has said that it will seek a High Court injunction which will close the Irish Ispat steel manufacturing plant in Cork, unless the company brings the emission of toxic dust under control. The warning is a significant threat to the future of the plant, which employs more than 300 people. In documents seen by RTÉ News, the EPA says that it is satisfied that the emissions are causing significant environmental pollution.

With a promise to invest £30 million over five years, Ispat International took over Irish Steel in May 1996 as the plant was about to close. Five years later just £19m of that money has been invested and Irish Ispat is facing difficulties over pollution which could threaten the future of the plant. Since 1999, Ispat has informed the EPA on over a dozen occasions about emissions from the plant which posed a risk of pollution. These emissions, or huge dust clouds, contained lead and other dioxins.

The EPA has given the company several opportunities to take corrective action. But now, faced with more than 70 complaints from the public and bodies such as the Naval Service and Cobh Chamber of Commerce, the EPA has threatened to seek an injunction in the High Court, which would close Irish Ispat Ireland's only steel manufacturing plant, unless the emissions stop.


News At One

RTÉ News 17/1/01

ISPAT plant under heavy pressure from EPA over dust emissions Two days after a fire at the ISPAT steel plant in Cork in which a man died, it has emerged that the company has been under heavy pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency to deal with dust emissions. This was so much so that the Agency has threatened to take ISPAT to the High Court. They have had more than 50 complaints.

Ciarán O'Brien, EPA Regional Manager in Cork, explains his dealings with the company.

Source (audio)