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Siblings Padraig and Maura O'Grady of Ballyglassane, Crusheen. Photograph by John Kelly

Serious shortcomings alleged about Council oil depot inspection


THERE was no evidence of oil contamination on the ground area in any part of the Burrenside Oil site at Ballygassane, Crusheen or in nearby watercourse, according to an inspection by the Environment Department of Clare County Council.

On foot of a complaint received by the Environment Department last September, this department carried out two site inspections of the company, according to a report completed by an EPA complaints co-ordinator, which was obtained by the Clare Champion.

The site inspection report outlined the fuel tanks on the site are all stored in bunds.

The report stated, “There was no evidence of oil contamination on the ground area in any part of the site or in nearby watercourse.

“An oil interceptor was observed in place at the site. There was no odour detected at the site at the time of the inspections.

“The managers of the facility were advised both during the site inspections and in writing of their obligations to comply with all environmental legislation at the site and that all mitigation measures must be in place to prevent any oil pollution.

“Further inspections will be carried out at the site to ensure compliance with environmental legislation.”

It has also emerged Burrenside Oil was written to on foot of a submission received by the Fire and Building Control Department on September 16, 2020.

It was recommended that they familiarise themselves of the requirements, which apply to their site under the Dangerous Substances (Flammable Liquids and Fuels Retail Stores Regulations 2019) and are required to apply for a licence.

Since this correspondence, the report stated their technical agent has made contact with the Fire and Building Control Department and is currently preparing a license application.

An investigation was also undertaken by the Planning Department.

“Further to this investigation they have reported that the use of the site as a fuel depot has been in place for longer than seven years.

“As such the Planning Department is statute barred from pursuing enforcement action with regards the overall use of the site.”

The two council scientists who completed their investigation into Burrenside oil in September 2020 did not take any water samples for testing, according to Padraig O’Grady.

Mr O’Grady claimed the two scientists did not notice a large part of the bunding around the tanks and concrete base had never been put in place.

“The two scientists did not make a note of the oil interceptor discharging without a Section Four licence, which is a legal requirement under the Water Pollution Act.

“The two scientists did not mention of the absence of planning permission for the interceptor or the absence of planning permission for the Section Four licence.

“The Section Four licence requires its own planning permission, which is totally separate to the interceptor planning permission.

“The two scientists did not notice the absence of a DSL licence, as it should be there to protect the public and the environment.

“The two scientists did not mention where the waste had been going for the past 20 years.

“The two scientists did not mention the interceptor should be connected to a foul sewer and that would require a section 16 licence from Irish Water.”

“This area is zoned for light residential not industrial purposes so how did a large fuel depot like this go unnoticed by all the state authorities,” he asked.

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