Arran Chemical Co. – ongoing groundwater remediation project


Monksland Industrial Estate, Athlone, Co Roscommon

Arran operates a small batch-mode multi-purpose chemical synthesis plant for the contract manufacture of products for pharmaceutical intermediates, fragrance and flavouring, contact lens sector, and other specialised chemical and industrial applications.

MINEREX Environmental Limited (MEL) act as consultants to Arran, and have produced a number of reports for Arran and the EPA over the past decade.

Measuring contaminants – Toluene, Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE), Tetrahydrafuran (THF) and Xylenes (m & p & o-Xylene)

Historic contamination from 1990’s and recent (2018) leakage. There was a fugitive leak to ground in 2019, however it was not possible to determine the correct volume lost to this incident.

No indication of any continuation or new leakages since 2018/19

New site containment measures with upgrades to all sumps, drains, floors and bunds to reduce the potential for a repeat of 2018 and 2019 leakage to groundwater.

Arran is conducting a “pump & treat” remediation programme where the groundwater from AMW11 (drilled in 2019) is extracted, treated and used as cooling water on vacuum pumps before collection in Arran effluent tanks and subsequently discharged (licensed SE-1) for treatment in the local Monksland Wastewater treatment plant.

Arran has increased pumping rates from approximately 20-22 m3/day (since July 2020) to approximately 30-35 m3/day of groundwater from AMW11 since September 2021. The level of contaminants has changed (positively) as recorded on the Arran daily chemical oxygen demand (COD) and conductivity analysis and with the Minerex quarterly VOC monitoring programme

Monitoring results from September, October (EPA) & November 2021 found levels of some contaminants higher than previous monitoring events.–enforcement/whats-happening/prosecutions-and-penalties/prosecutions-2021/director-of-public-prosecutions-prosecutes-arran-chemical-company-p0110-02.php

€34,000 fine

-failing to notify EPA of an incident with the potential for environmental contamination of groundwater, namely damage to the side wall of the Unit 2 Sump

-emissions at emissions point reference number Vent A1 which exceeded the licenced emission limit values

-multiple emissions of environmental significance to groundwater

-alternative sampling and monitoring facilities were not put in place in the event of the malfunction of the continuous monitor

-environmental records not kept on site and made available to EPA

Arran’s EPA feed, latest records

Arran on 2020 EPA National Priority Sites List

Sheep Dip

The Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment are to establish a “forum on the management of spent sheep dip”, as recommended by the EPA

Spent sheep dip has been identified by the EPA as having “significant toxic impacts” on river ecosystems in areas where the practice of dipping is widespread.

Donegal had been mentioned in the report as one such area where the disposal of used dip and sheep footbath solutions required improvement.

The EPA had advised that the relevant departments commence discussions by the end of March (2022) on the sheep dip forum

Source: Farmers Journal

Nationwide hazardous farm waste collection scheme

A scheme which will see farm hazardous waste collected from designated drop-off points nationwide is expected to be operational by 2024, should the timeframe set out in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Hazardous Waste Management Plan for 2021-2027 be followed.

he scheme will see the collection of potentially hazardous materials, such as empty pesticide containers, veterinary medicine waste and used oil, from centres scattered throughout the country.

The EPA’s waste management plan estimated that there is in the region of 7,378t of hazardous wastes, excluding used batteries and electronic goods, currently stockpiled on farms.

Coillte Cypermethrin Spraying Cavan & Leitrim


Sample reports via AIE on cypermethrin spraying sites

Reports show total area treated in Ha, and number of litres of cypermethin sprayed

Samples are 3 random samples from 37 forests sprayed by Coillte in Cavan and Leitrim (for copy of all the files please get in contact)

Notified Seveso Sites

Seveso Sites are defined as Industrial sites that, because of the presence of dangerous substances in sufficient quantities, are regulated under Council Directives 96/82/ECand 2003/105/EC, commonly referred to as the Seveso II Directive.

Seveso Sites are categorised as Lower, or Upper, by the type and quantity of hazardous substances stored at the site.

COMAH Regulations requires the CCA to make particular information on the establishments permanently available to the public.

A greater level of information is provided for upper-tier establishments.

Upper Tier COMAH Establishments by Region

Click on the links below to see the relevant establishment list for that area:

Lower Tier COMAH Establishments by Region

Click on the links below to see the relevant establishment list for that area:

Catchment management of metaldehyde (UK Pilot Project)

Anglian Water is coming to the end of five years of the Slug it Out trial. The Slug it Out trial is a payment for ecosystem services based approach trialled in key natural catchments from June 2015 until June 2020.

The Slug it Out trial focused solely on agricultural sources of metaldehyde and was designed based on the core tenet of both the “Appraisal of Policy options to Manage Pesticides” report (DEFRA WT0963) and the Metaldehyde Stewardship Groups “high risk fields” approach that regulatory compliant water (individual pesticide level below 0.1µg/l) can be achieved with less than complete exclusion of metaldehyde within a catchment.

The Slug it Out scheme was implemented in seven natural catchments around Anglian Water reservoirs. These were: Grafham, Pitsford, Hollowell, Ravensthorpe, Ardleigh, Alton, Rutland (from 2016/17 onward). A one year trial of the SiO scheme was carried out in the pumped Covenham 1 catchment in 2017/18. In Slug it Out catchments, farmers were paid to not use metaldehyde to control slugs. The amount the farmers were paid was based on the amount of arable land (hectares) that the farm had in the catchment plus a standard hosting fee. An additional water quality bonus was paid if the watercourse had no metaldehyde exceedances from catchment monitoring sampling points. Each catchment had a dedicated Anglian Water Catchment Advisor to engage with the farmers in that catchment and be the link between the Agricultural sector and the Water sector.

The implementation of SiO was successful in many ways and led to a reduction in metaldehyde levels in all natural catchments. In particular, no metaldehyde exceedances were recorded in the five year SiO period in the Grafham, Hollowell and Ravensthorpe Catchments or during the one year trial in the pumped Conveham 1 catchment. Other Catchments such as Alton took a year before not exceeding the pesticide limit while more complicated catchments (numerous additional sources) such as Ardleigh took two years. The implementation of the SiO scheme lead to an average of ~70% reduction in the number of metaldehyde exceedances seen in these catchments compared to the average number of metaldedye exceedances  before the SiO scheme was introduced.

As well as the reduction in the level of metaldehyde in natural catchments, SiO also had other benefits, for example farmers deciding to use cultural controls or ferric phosphate and not metaldehyde to control slugs on land outside of the Slug it Out scheme, thus reducing the overall metaldehyde burden from agriculture entering our raw waters.

The Slug it Out trial also demonstrated that positive and consistent communication between Catchment Advisor and farmers within the catchment – supported by local data is vitally important to success. Another key factor is engagement with local agronomists and other agricultural stakeholders who help disseminate and validate messages while strengthening the building trust of farmers. This itself has led to good two way communication channels benefiting both sectors.  Another important takeaway from the Slug it Out scheme is that providing farmers the financial backing to try something new can lead to positive changes after the payment ends or in areas where the payment does not apply – for example some changes and new ways of thinking benefit the farm business resilience anyway.

As part of the Slug Out scheme drip trays and cab stickers were handed out to all Slug it Out farmers across the seven Slug it Out catchments.–a-proven-success/

National Aquatic Environmental Chemistry Group (NAECG)

The National Aquatic Environmental Chemistry Group (NAECG) was established in 2018 to create a national expertise on hazardous substances in the aquatic environment, and to bring a more strategic and forward-looking approach to the management of hazardous substances (particularly chemicals) in Ireland.

The NAECG is a collaborative initiative that will be used to make recommendations on the review and monitoring of chemical substances of concern, assessing their risks from an environmental and human health perspective and advising on their future management.

The NAECG is chaired and administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and meets twice a year.  Its members include:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Marine Institute
  • Irish Water
  • Geological Survey of Ireland
  • Waterways Ireland
  • Health & Safety Authority
  • Local Autorities Waters Programme
  • Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government
  • Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine, Pesticde Registration Division
  • Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Enviroment
  • Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland

The National Aquatic Environmental Chemistry Group has been tasked by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to carry out a review of Ireland’s current list of Specific Pollutants, and their associated EQSs, to determine whether they are still appropriate for Ireland.

The review will also look to identify new candidate substances of concern for possible inclusion in a future revised list

Chemical Monitoring Programmes

In Ireland a number of national agencies, including the EPA, the Marine Institute (MI) and Waterways Ireland are responsible for the chemical monitoring programmes for surface waters based upon the requirements of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) – Directive 2000/60/EC.  Under this Directive, a European ‘priority list’ of substances posing a threat to the aquatic environment was established, with the aim of reducing, or eliminating, pollution of surface water by the substances on the list. 

The list must be reviewed every six years at EU level to ensure that the WFD monitoring programme continues to be fit for purpose and that relevant substances of concern are included.  In considering potential new substances for inclusion on the list, the Commission reviews data from Members States’ monitoring programmes, international datasets and research projects and considers these in the context of spatial frequency, temporal frequency and the levels detected across Europe.

Member States are required to monitor for these substances as part of their national WFD monitoring programmes and the EPA and MI includes these in their national WFD surveillance monitoring programmes for rivers, lakes and transitional waters.  The current list contains 48 substances or groups of substances, including herbicides, insecticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), solvents and metals.  The results obtained from this priority substance monitoring are used to determine the Chemical Status of water bodies across Ireland.

In addition to monitoring for specified hazardous substances, as set out by the Commission in its priority substance and priority hazardous substance lists, Member States must also identify River Basin Specific Pollutants (RBSP) of regional or local importance, set national Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) and establish national monitoring programmes for them. 

In Ireland 16 substances, including metals, pesticides and hydrocarbons, are included in the current list of Specific Pollutants set out in Table 10 of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 (European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Waters) Regulations 2009).  Monitoring for these compounds are included in National WFD surveillance monitoring programmes and the results obtained are used, together with biological and hydromorphological data, to determine the Ecological Status of water bodies across Ireland.

FOI Request to EPA

FOI submitted 18/10/201 as follows, to request under FOI Act 2014

Details of the National Aquatic Environmental Chemistry Group (NAECG) Group. In particular names of the members, governance, remit and details of agendas/minutes of meetings for 2020-2021

Unused Pharmaceuticals Where Do They End Up

Hundreds of different active pharmaceutical compounds are being discovered in waterways around the world. Concern is increasing about the harm these might be doing to human health and the environment.

Whilst pharmaceutical residues can enter the environment during the production, consumption and disposal, incorrect disposal of
household pharmaceutical waste is considered the second major pathway into the environment.

Proper collection and disposal of household pharmaceutical waste can contribute to reducing the impact of pharmaceuticals in the environment. Effective collection schemes would divert unused medicines from mixed waste streams that are not designed to deal specifically with pharmaceutical products.

Directive 2004/27/EC (relating to medicinal products for human use) introduces an obligation for Member States to implement appropriate collection schemes for unused pharmaceutical products. However, it does not provide any guidelines on implementation of schemes and a number of studies have pointed to significant differences between Member States.

In Ireland, where up until now pharmacies are responsible for all the expenses of the collection scheme (the legislation is currently under revision), there are reports of pharmacies accepting unused medicines all year but then waiting for the national annual campaign sponsored by the Health and Safety Executive to get rid of the collected medicines, thus avoiding any costs related to the disposal.

An ideal collection scheme, as proposed by Health Care Without Harm Europe, would be:

• Easy to use and accessible
• Funded by the Pharmaceutical Industry Groups
• Free of charge for the public
• Well-communicated so that people are motivated to participate
• Able to sort and recycle packaging
• Safe for public heath, by ensuring collected residues cannot be tampered with
• Responsible for the chemical deactivation of pharmaceutical waste