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A critical problem at La Collette: 217 containers full of dangerous asbestos waste pile up at La Collette: A year’s worth of highly toxic APCr incinerator ash is already stockpiled. SOSJ believe that no toxic waste should be buried at La Collette and offer a solution.

Transport and Technical Minister Kevin Lewis reveals that there are now 217 containers of asbestos contaminated material stockpiled at La Collette and (right) over a year's worth of highly hazardous incinerator APCr ash is stacked in a pit awaiting burial.
Transport and Technical Minister Kevin Lewis reveals that there are now 217 containers of asbestos contaminated material stockpiled at La Collette and (right) over a year’s worth of highly hazardous incinerator APCr ash is stacked in a pit awaiting burial.

SOS believe that neither of these materials should be buried (even temporarily) in pits at La Collette. Below we offer a possible solution to this huge environmental and potential public health problem which if successful would enable the toxic waste to be made safe and even re-used rather than buried and become a legacy for our descendants to deal with.

In this respect we believe that the Ministers of both Planning and Environment and Transport and Technical Services agree with us and it remains to find a preferred option that is safe and cost effective. We ask all departments to work together in a unified way to achieve a common goal.

Left: hazardous asbestos stockpiled at La Collette. Right: If treated would be safe and could be used for road construction.
Left: hazardous asbestos stockpiled at La Collette. Right: If treated would be safe and could be used for road construction.

Asbestos is a natural fibrous rock, valued for its resistance to high temperatures, chemical attack, micro-organisms and wear. The danger represented by asbestos does not lie in its chemical composition, but in its physical properties. Asbestos fibres settle at the bottom of the lungs and remain in the pulmonary fluid for more than 30 years after inhalation. Asbestos is a carcinogenic fibre and is classified as a hazardous waste.
Using plasma torch vitrification in the treatment of asbestos

For over a decade Europlasma SA has been working on hazardous waste destruction using the high temperatures provided by its high-power plasma torch technology. The company has invested particularly in the handling of asbestos-containing materials and ashes from incinerators. This has resulted in the erection of industrial vitrification plants in both France and Japan.

Interestingly, France was the first country in Europe to ban asbestos (banned from 1 January 1997), and a treatment plant for asbestos wastes in Morcenx, France has been active for over ten years. Run by Inertam, a subsidiary company of Europlasma SA, the facility began operation by treating up to 8000 metric tonnes of asbestos-covered waste per annum.

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Since 2001, throughput has increased to more than 25,000 tonnes of asbestos-covered waste and more recently the site has expanded further, with the addition of a third processing line. Inaugurated in November 2005, the new line alone is able to treat up to 42 tonnes of asbestos-covered waste per day.

So what now?
As always, SOSJ will do our best to raise public awareness on this issue. We are in touch with the various departments and authorities concerned and are somewhat encouraged by commitments that we have so far been given that all avenues are being explored. The Environment Scrutiny Panel will soon be examining why the asbestos has been allowed to accumulate to this degree and we will update you on our Facebook pages.

Jersey’s toxic waste mountain – September 2012
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