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Eyrecourt to Galway Co. Co.: Stop Shitting On Us

category galway | environment | news report author Monday April 23, 2007 16:05author by Mark C - Stop Spreading Sewage Report this post to the editors

At a demonstration outside Galway Co. Co. offices today in excess of 100 protestors put a clear message to Galway Co. Co.: Stop Dumping Human Waste On Farms In East Galway.
A selection of the men, women, and children present
A selection of the men, women, and children present

The protest was organised by residents of Eyrecourt in Galway East, who are fed up (and very concerned about) the amount of human waste - excrement, urine (and tampons and sanitary towels, according to a Sunday World article) - being spread on farms. The 'sludge' as it is called is being used as fertiliser on the farms, and the farmers are being paid to get rid of the waste, both domestic and hospital, which is not pre-treated (gets some lime added, but apparently this doesn't do much) and contains all types of infection, heavy metal and general bacteria, as common sense would dictate.

People living in the area have not been able to open their windows, sit outside or even hang
out their washing due to the appalling smell from this waste. But, the huge disgrace is that this stuff is seeping into the water supply, polluting the rivers and, of course, ending up back in the food chain. The meat, veg and grain you eat may have come from this land.

The residents' demand that the waste be treated properly and incinerated in order to produce energy; they want it properly dried, turned into pellets, and safely disposed of.

Also at the protest - besides indymedia - were representatives from RTE, TG4, and Galway Bay FM. The protest itself is to be the focus of a Prime Time documentary tomorrow night - but remember: you read it here first.

Related Link: http://www.stopspreadingsewage.org

Two simple statements from Michael Egan's drum - Part 1
Two simple statements from Michael Egan's drum - Part 1

Two simple statements from Michael Egan's drum - Part 2
Two simple statements from Michael Egan's drum - Part 2

RTE get in on the act
RTE get in on the act

 TG4 setting up
TG4 setting up

author by Terencepublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 17:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The earlier story on Indymedia about a meeting in relation to this also some additional information worth reading for anyone interested in this topic.


Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82035
author by Mark Cpublication date Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for that link Terence and for the work you've put into your comments on this story; it's all been very helpful.

For those with audio, here is a clip of a statement from one protestor yesterday. The sound quality is not very good as it was recorded on my mp3 player. I'm meeting this man (probably later today) for a fuller interview, which I'll get transcribed and uploaded later in the week.

Eyrecourt Wikipedia link:

audio Statement from one protestor 1.38 Mb
Related Link: http://www.stopspreadingsewage.org
author by paul o toolepublication date Tue Apr 24, 2007 13:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The presence of human waste from hospitals in the water is particularly worrying because of the high concentration of anti-biotic drugs and other drugs administered to patients while in hospitals. This waste should be treated seperately because of this. Where the drugs administered to patients is ultimately for the better of the patient if it is released untreated back into the eco-system will in time cause irreperable damage to the soil, water and plant life and ultimately damage humans.

author by Terencepublication date Tue Apr 24, 2007 19:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It would be useful to get more information about the source of sludge for various other operations that are spreading it on land.

I know that up to a few years ago the sludge generated (from Dublin) at the Ringsend sewage works just to be transport daily on a small barge (the Sir Joseph Bazalgette?) and dumped at sea not far off Howth Head. This could have been up to 10 miles off-shore, but I can't be sure. Apparently there is an area of the sea around there where there is a relatively deep. The dumping sludge at sea stopped as a result of an EU directive which banned it, as the North Sea was a regular dumping ground by countries around it such as the UK.

It seems now that according to this document: http://www.dublincity.ie/Images/Dublin%20Bay%20Project%...5.pdf -this is what happens to the sludge.

Sludge is a by-product of the treatment of wastewater. At Ringsend it is treated using hydrolysis and digestion before being thermally dried at air temperatures of 450°C, killing pathogens and producing a pasteurised, organic based fertiliser. It is marketed under the name “Biofert” and is spread on tillage and grass in Leinster. It is granular, practically odourless and contains valuable nutrients and organic matter. 25,000 tonnes of Biofert is produced at the Ringsend Treatment Works each year. Sludge at Ringsend is particularly rich in nutrients because Dublin’s main industries include major food and drink companies like Guinness and Cadbury. It is also very low in metal levels. Biofert has only 10% of the metal levels permitted by the EU for sludge product used in agriculture.

So who if anyone is testing this material? Where are the results and can we trust them?

And as to regulations in Ireland & EU as to what can go into Sewage Sludge, it is outlined in this document: http://www.fingalcoco.ie/YourLocalCouncil/Services/Wate...5.pdf


The Directive (Council Directive 86/278/EEC on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture) regulates the use of sewage sludge in agriculture in such a way that contamination of soil and pollution of water does not occur from metal contaminants, nitrates and phosphates. The Directive prescribes standards for these constituents. The Directive is currently implemented by the Waste Management (Use of Sewage Sludge in Agriculture) Regulations (S.I. No 148, 1998) which revoked the European Communities (Use of Sewage Sludge in Agriculture) Regulations, 1991
This legislation applies to sludge from sewage plants, septic tanks and other installations for the treatment of sewage and residual sludge from any kind of plant. The use of sludge is prohibited where the concentration of heavy metals in soil exceeds the specified values or where the use of sludge may result in those values being exceeded. The maximum amount of sludge that may be applied is 2 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year. Local authorities are obliged to supervise the supply and use of sludge in their areas.

There seems to be some discussion of this here: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/ZZSI148Y1998.html

But here is where things get interesting. According to the application to the EPA about the Poolbeg / Ringsend incinerator there is an option to incinerate 80,000 tonnes per annum of this stuff. The key question though is: What are the regulations about using incinerator ash for 'fertilizer' and do the same regulations for unburnt sludge apply? Probably not.

This issue about the proposal to incinerator the sludge can be found at the URL below. The text is:

The application to the EPA details that 80,000 tonnes per annum of sewage sludge from the adjacent Tertiary Treatment Works will be incinerated in the plant. This is contrary to all statements at the Information Days run by DCC in Ringsend. Mr Matt Twomey explicitly denied on many occasions that sewage sludge would be burnt.

The principal reference in the EIS to sewage sludge is on page 5-7 as follows:

Sludge Pipeline

5.5.39. In the event that land spreading of sludge will no longer be an option due to
environmental constraints, it will be possible to pump the sludge directly to the proposed WtE Facility for thermal treatment. It is intended to provide a sludge pipeline from the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Works.[our emphasis] The sludge would be pumped from the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Works and injected into the waste feed hoppers.

Here we find, buried deep in the EIS and in the middle of a paragraph, the most important sentence in the whole document.....

article continues

Related Link: http://fiasco.ie/incinerator/05.html
author by nicolapublication date Wed Apr 25, 2007 17:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

does anyone have a number for the protestors? thanks

author by Mark Cpublication date Thu Apr 26, 2007 15:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Nicola,

You should be able to find contact details for the campaign on the campaign site at stopspreadingsewage.org.

There're two phone numbers on the Main Page.

If they are not who you are looking for you're welcome to contact me at the email address educate4free @ gmail . com (sorry I'm not giving my phone number online here, but I work as a teacher and the hassle of having my number in the public domain isn't worth it).


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