EPS quarterly update on Dundalk WWTW

(27 Apr 2012)

Compliance and quality

Analysis of final effluent discharged to the Castletown River - Dundalk wastewater treatment works.

 BODCODSuspended solids
EPS contract limits25 mg/l125 mg/l35 mg/l
% compliance 2010100%100%100%
% compliance 2011100%100%100%
% compliance Jan-Mar 2012100%100%100%

* compliance as per EPS sampling and analysis under contract

Successful retention of the Achilles Quality Standard at Dundalk WWTW

EPS has a range of quality accreditations that cover the operation of Dundalk WWTW.  As well as reviewing and auditing the system internally, the accreditations all have regular independent audit and verification throughout the year.  One of these accreditations is the Achilles Quality Standard which is an internationally recognised standard that covers quality, environmental and health and safety management.

On March 21st 2012, following a full audit of the system at our Mallow HQ, the Achilles auditor visited Dundalk to see the system being used on site.  The site received an average mark of 98% covering the areas of quality, environmental and health and safety management.

Category B2 assessment

1 UVDB Achilles Verify Assessment scores for EPS

Energy management

EPS has just become the first organisation in our industry sector to be awarded the energy quality mark ISO50001.  The awarding body will be visiting the Dundalk plant in May to verify the system in action.  This is a positive commitment to reducing the environmental impact Dundalk wastewater treatment works has on the environment and follows on from last year's success, where EPS was a successful finalist in the Sustainable Energy Agency Ireland (SEAI) 2011 Energy Awards.

EPS audit at Dundalk wastewater treatment works

Now that Dundalk has been issued with its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wastewater discharge license, the EPA will be carrying out regular audits.  The first audit was held on the 8th February.  The EPA did a site walk around with county council and EPS representatives.  The audit went well and the EPA was very satisfied with the site and its operations.

Environmental news

Wildlife at DundalkDundalk wildlife   Irish hares

The grounds of Dundalk WWTW are home to a number of Irish hares.  The Irish hare is found only in Ireland and is thought to be a distinct subspecies of the hare family, different to the hares found in the UK or Europe.  There is a large area of open grassland at the treatment plant along with areas of shelter along the perimeter fence, which are ideal habitats for the hares.  Unlike rabbits, hares don't live underground in burrows but instead make their home on a hollowed area of flattened vegetation.  The Irish hare is listed as an internationally important species and is protected under law.  In order to protect the hares at the plant, EPS has a policy in place to delay the majority of grass cutting until late July.  If you are walking along the plant in Spring you might see the hares "boxing" as part of their mating rituals.

Noise management at Dundalk

Following contact from neighbours living around the boundary of the Dundalk site, Louth County Council met with local residents and reviewed the plant alarm systems.  Most of the alarms have now been changed to produce internal audible alarms with external lights warning staff prior to entry if there are any issues.  The alarms go to an on-call member of staff and a security firm who visit the site upon receipt of any alarms out of hours.  This now means the site will remain safe and secure without the need for alarms to ring outside of normal operating times.

EPS staff have also been liaising with neighbours regarding noise from the plant in the early hours of the morning.  A full noise survey of the plant has been carried out by an independent expert and an acoustic engineer has visited the site.  His recommendations are being implemented to ensure the site has a minimal impact with respect to noise both during the working day and out of hours.  Until all the measures are in place the site is being operated to minimise a noise producing plant being run at night and we are keeping in contact with our neighbours on progress.

Innovation on siteEPS Bio crack system

EPS, in partnership with Vogelsang, has developed a renewable energy innovation for the site.  This new EPS innovation is known as the EPS Bio-crack system. 

The benefits of this system are increased gas production, which can be used to generate more electricity for the site.  This means a reduced usage from the national grid and a reduction in the plant's carbon footprint.  There are other benefits such as fewer solids produced and less chemical used in the process.

The Bio-crack unit operates by passing the sludge through a highly efficient macerator and then through a series of high voltage electrodes that discharge a powerful kinetic force through the sludge.  This results in an easier to process solid for both digestion and solids handling.  In summary, the new technology ensures more renewable energy use at the site and less dependence on fossil fuels.  This new innovation recently won the 2012 Green Energy Awards.

Working with the community

During March, the fire brigade carried out an exercise at the Dundalk plant for training its staff.  The site has some high structures and steps and ladders which are ideal for carrying out rescue simulations.  Whilst on site the fire brigade did a full walk around and shared information and best practice tips with EPS staff.

Any questions?

For product enquiries, specification advice, project assessments or further information, please contact the EPS team at info@epswater.ie or telephone 042-9329182.

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