Decontamination of soils and construction materials contaminated by dioxins (1) started in Spolana Neratovice. In the course of the process of issuance of integrated permit (IP) for the company BCD CZ, joint stock company, Arnika achieved tightening of some conditions of the decontamination process, in the interest of higher protection of the environment in the vicinity of the chemical plant. “This was the maximum achievable at present. Because of that, we have decided to not block the project, which should eliminate one of the most serious environmental burdens in the country, further, and we have not appealed the issued decision,” said Hana Kuncová, MSc, the head of the "Stop the Danger from Spolana" campaign. In Spolana, the building of old amalgam electrolysis is still waiting for cleaning of mercury and dioxins.
Arnika considers the following changes to be the most important ones for the better in comparison with the original proposal:
1) Waste (textile and wood) in the amount of approximately 52 tonnes, which Spolana requested to incinerate straight, will be, according to the issued IP, decontaminated by a non-combustion technology, and used for back fill within the framework of ground works;
2) Measurements of DDT emissions to air will be carried out, twice a year;
3) Limit for dioxins (PCDD/F) in water discharged from a special waste water treatment plant into the sewerage system of the Spolana company was reduced to 2.5 ng/l, from the original 5 ng/l;
4) Monitoring of emissions of mercury (Hg) and its compounds to air will be carried out. In the request for issuance of IP, this was not planned at all. Arnika has achieved that the measurement of mercury and its compounds in emissions to air will be carried out twice in the first month after start of operation, and further once in each 6 months.
Overall, this will be a unique project on the territory of the Czech Republic, which will eliminate one of the worst and most known environmental burdens - so-called dioxin buildings in Spolana Neratovice. However, during EIA and IPPC processes, the BCD technology was not compared with other commercially used non-combustion technologies. “We continue to consider as a big shortcoming of the project the fact that the public, Spolana itself, or state as the investor of the decontamination will not get to know whether the best available technology was really chosen,” returned Kuncová to the course of the approval process.
Due to interconnection of the BCD technology with the SITA company, this will not be a completely non-combustion technology, because certain part of waste will be incinerated in an incineration plant in Ostrava, co-owned by the SITA company. During the whole approval process, Arnika tried to achieve that the amount of incinerated waste be as low as possible. “The biggest surprise during the process of issuance of integrated permit was the proposal that further ca 52 tonnes of contaminated wastes will be incinerated,” stated Jindřich Petrlík, DSc, the head of the Toxics and Wastes Programme of the Arnika Association. The Spolana company was the main proponent of this proposal. “Luckily, we were successful in preventing this absurd incineration. It is not any solution of the dioxin burden, because, said in a simplified way, hazardous dioxins and further toxic substances only move from the incinerated waste to the fly ash and emissions to air during the incineration process. Incineration of wastes containing dioxins and further persistent organic pollutants (2) is not preferred also by the Stockholm Convention (3) ratified by the Czech Republic,” added Petrlík. In spite of this success of Arnika, certain part of wastes from decontamination of the burden will be incinerated.
Also the question of mercury and organochlorinated pesticides (such as, for example, DDT and its metabolites), was not worked out in any detail in the request. “But these substances are hazardous ones, and they clearly occur on the site,” mentioned Kuncová. However, on the basis of comments of the Arnika Association, the issued IP includes obligatory conditions of monitoring of these substances - mercury and DDT.
Although the Regional Authority of the Region of Central Bohemia intends to have the project under thorough control, certain emission limits, as stated in the IP request, were too benevolent. This included the proposed limit for the content of dioxins (PCDD/F) in waters from the technology which will be discharged into the sewerage system of the Spolana company. The limit of 5 ng/l PCDD/F was stated in the request. “We have required the same limit as is valid for hazardous waste incinerators, i.e. 0.3 ng/l. Finally, we succeeded in reduction of the originally proposed limit at least to a half in the issued permit,” concluded Kuncová.