Cement firm fined €4k after ‘glue-like’ dust fell on homes
IRISH Cement has been fined €4,000 for allowing a thick ‘glue-like’ dust to spill from its Co. Limerick production plant, causing damage to nearby homes, cars and gardens.
The company pleaded guilty at Limerick District Court to one count of breaching terms of its industrial emissions license, at its plant in Castlemungret on December 3 of last year.
The incident involved more than two-and-a-half tonnes of dust, sparking health concerns among locals, the court heard.
Solicitor Maeve Larkin, prosecuting on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, told the court that the dust involved was ‘gritty... not everyday dust’. After the company had unsuccessfully attempted to clear a build-up of dust in the kiln, a significant amount of it leaked out and into the air, falling on local residential neighbourhoods.
The EPA received a total of 21 complaints afterwards from local residents after the dust fell on their homes and gardens.
Dust samples were taken by the EPA, and Irish Cement accepted the dust had come from its plant.
The court heard that residents gave statements to the EPA referring to a ‘glue-like’ dust.
Six of the complaints referred to residents’ health concerns, two of which related to people with asthma.