As it cleared a blockage from its preheater, Irish Cement’s Limerick plant caused a dust emission that coated cars and houses. The dust release at around 4am on Saturday 25 July affected residents in a 3km-5km radius around the Castlemungret facility.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it was advised that a blockage occurred in a preheater tower and while removing the blockage, a “dust release occurred”. It added it would require a full investigation and assessment report into the incident, “which will address corrective and preventative actions to be taken,” said the agency.
“On foot of this information, further action will be considered by the EPA in line with our enforcement policy,” added a spokesperson. “The priority for the EPA is to ensure that the necessary management practices are in place to eliminate the causes of this type of incident and protect the environment.”
Irish Cement, which received a number of complaints about the incident, said it was “engaging with local residents since Saturday morning and acknowledges that inconvenience was caused. “Irish Cement regrets this inconvenience and has provided a number of car washes for local residents. Irish Cement will continue to engage with the local community on this issue.
“There is no risk to the public arising from this incident. In accordance with company policy and licence requirements, Irish Cement notified the Environmental Protection Agency of the emission,” a company spokesperson said. Irish Cement has stressed that there was “no risk to the public arising from the incident”, but the EPA and HSE West have warned that exposure to the dust while in the air “may have had the potential to cause minor irritation, mainly of the eye”.
So far there has been no reported presentations to UHL in connection with the incident, reports the Limerick Chronicle.