Officers from Environment Agency Wales have launched an investigation after an energy from waste facility in Swansea breached strict emission limits set out in its environmental permit.
Test results from the Materials Recovery and Energy Centre at Crymlyn Burrows, Swansea, have indicated the site has exceeded the permitted limit for dioxin emissions on two occasions.
The operator, which is Neath Port Talbot (Recycling Ltd) and is owned by Neath Port Talbot Council, is cooperating fully with Environment Agency Wales and has stopped all operations until the cause of the breaches can be established.
It had accepted a formal caution last year from Environment Agency Wales following emissions breaches from the site in 2010. A stricter monitoring regime has been put in place as a result.
As a result of the emissions breach, the company has begun cleaning work on a section of the plant that could be the cause of the breach.
Environment Agency Wales area manager Steve Brown said: “Environmental permits are there to make sure that local people and the environment are protected from the impact of sites like these.
“They have strict conditions and emission controls which we will enforce. The operator is complying fully with our investigation. We will make sure they do all that they can to rectify this problem as a matter of urgency and we will consider taking further action if appropriate.”
Public Health Wales consultant Huw Brunt said: “Raised levels of dioxin emissions over a short time period are unlikely to pose an appreciable health risk to the local population. However, a number of breaches of the dioxin emission limit have been reported at this site over the past couple of years.
“This recurring problem raises associated public health concerns and we would like to see this situation resolved as soon as possible.”
The facility will not operate again until the company can demonstrate its compliance with its permit.