Incident at Irish Cement, Limerick, 25th July 2015

Date released: Jul 27 2015

Pre-heater Tower Blockage Incident at Irish Cement, Limerick 25/07/2015

Update: September 30th 2015.

An EPA inspector visited the site on the afternoon of Monday 27 July 2015 to assess the incident and to take an independent dust sample for analysis. 

The EPA Inspector’s report established that dust emissions from the incident extended beyond the licence boundary, affecting neighbouring houses and cars.  The cause of this incident was the opening of a poke hole, in an attempt to free a blockage at the stage 4 preheater tower, for kiln 6.  Results of the dust sample taken indicated that the dust was composed of oxygen, magnesium, aluminium, silicon, sulphur, chlorine, potassium, calcium and iron.  Irish Cement's Air Dispersion Modelling Report of the dust release was received by the Agency in September 2015.  The report concluded that the predicted concentration levels are in compliance with the relevant limit values. 

The Agency’s investigation found that Irish Cement was non-compliant with Conditions 5.1 & 5.2 of their licence, and the company have carried out a number of corrective and preventative actions with regard to this incident.  Corrective actions have been completed and other environmental improvements have been implemented to ensure that the necessary management practices are in place to eliminate the causes of this type of incident and to protect the environment.


Date released: July 27th 2015

The EPA was informed of an incident at the site of Irish Cement, Castlemungret, Co. Limerick at approximately 11.00am on Saturday 25th July 2015.  The EPA was advised that a blockage occurred in a preheater tower and while removing the blockage, a dust release occurred at approximately 04.00am early Saturday morning resulting in an emission to air.   
A number of complaints, relating to the deposition of dust, were received by the EPA from residents in the area following the incident.

An EPA Inspector is visiting the site on the morning of the 27th July to assess the situation. The EPA will continue to monitor and assess the situation and communicate with the licensee and local residents.
The EPA will require a full investigation and assessment report in relation to this incident, which will address corrective and preventative actions to be taken. On foot of this information, further action will be considered by the EPA in line with our enforcement policy.

The priority for the EPA is to ensure that the necessary management practices are in place to eliminate the causes of this type of incident and protect the environment.
In relation to possible health implications, the Health Service Executive (HSE) West have advised that exposure to the dust while in the air may have had the potential to cause minor irritation, mainly of the eye. The recommended treatment for this is washing of the eyes, face and skin. Should any symptoms persist, HSE West recommends consulting a GP. The HSE West has confirmed there have been no reported presentations to University Hospital Limerick in connection with this incident.