Grundon Waste Management has received the all-clear from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the Environment Agency (EA) over the levels of dust created by incinerator bottom ash which is disposed of at its Wingmoor landfill site.
Grundon’s environmental permit requires them to monitor dust levels at six locations around the site.
In July 2010, the EA agreed an action plan with the HPA to address local residents’ health concerns about the dust. Following a review of existing data and additional monitoring the EA found that “the level of particulate matter from the Wingmoor sites was not associated with a significant risk to health”.
HPA conclusions found that “the risk of cancer associated with exposure to hexavalent chromium [which is carcinogenic to man through inhalation] at the existing concentrations is likely to be very small. However, efforts to reduce, further, emissions to air of dust are desirable in order to reduce exposure to this carcinogen.”
EA local environment manager Stuart Baker said: “We are reassured by HPA’s conclusion, that the levels of heavy metals, dioxins and furans within these samples are significantly below guideline values and do not pose a risk to health. We will continue to firmly regulate the site against the stringent conditions of the environmental permit.”
However, a statement from Safety in Rubbish Disposal (SWARD) - the local group campaigning to have the site shut down because it believes the waste is not being properly contained within the site as it should be – said: “With such limited evidence being gathered it was hardly surprising that the results were low. But it is all the more worrying that hazardous dust was picked up. We are appalled that so much effort is being put into trying to find evidence to prove this hazardous site is safe to operate, using such primitive methods.”