Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (129)

Joan Collins

Question:

129. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a detailed report on the Oxigen site in Ballymount that went on fire on the morning of 25 January; and his views on whether sites handling hazardous waste should be located in built up areas. [5034/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

At approximately 3 a.m. on Saturday, 25 January, the Dublin Fire Service responded to an emergency call reporting a large fire at the Oxigen Environmental Waste facility in an industrial estate at Ballymount, Dublin. In co-ordination with An Garda Síochána, the Dublin Fire Service has been managing the incident since that time. The Fire Service has worked since Saturday morning to bring the fire under control and at one point as many as 75 of their personnel were on the site. There was significant traffic disruption in the area as a result of the incident. A large plume of smoke remained over the area on Saturday and Sunday, although high winds over the weekend helped somewhat to disperse the plume.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was also on site since early on 25 January. The Agency has been liaising closely with the Fire Service and monitoring air quality in the area, and has advised anyone in the path of the plume to keep their windows and doors closed. The EPA has also provided general health advice to adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems and older people to reduce activity, particularly outdoors.

The fire was brought under full control by Wednesday 29 January. The EPA has taken steps to commence a full investigation in the normal way. It is too early at this stage to say what exactly caused the fire. The Gardaí and Fire Service are also moving now to commence their own separate investigations into the incident and what caused it.

I am very concerned about the fire and its possible impact on residents in the area. I am also relieved that there have been no injuries reported and that all staff at the plant are safe and fully accounted for.  I commend the Fire Service, An Garda Síochána and the EPA on their work so far in responding to this significant incident. The particular facility is located in an industrial estate and is licensed by the EPA to accept household and commercial dry recyclables, construction and demolition waste and hazardous waste. It is not yet known whether any hazardous waste was caught up in the fire but I expect this issue to be addressed in the various investigations.