Up until very recently, Environment Minister Deputy Steve Luce was hopeful Defra would say yes to taking our asbestos stockpile off-Island for treatment – but suddenly hopes have been dashed. So, what happens next with this toxic legacy?
If you are not familiar with our asbestos problem, you have a look at our previous asbestos-related posts and reports – but, in brief, we have got LOTS of it stored in at least 240 BIG, leaky containers at La Collette, and more is coming in all the time.
Click here for the interview on BBC Radio Jersey – available to listen to for 29 days from 18 June 2015 – start at 1 hour 8 mins in.
Previously we suggested strongly to the TTS these containers should be taken off-site as they are too dangerous to be processed in situ; TTS were in agreement and started to make enquiries – though we have to say this has been going on for some time.
We also suggested what was an ‘elegant solution’ (John Rogers, CEO of TTS) – to deal with any newly-incoming asbestos with in-container vitrification (ICV) with the help of a company such as Kurion. Deputy Kevin Lewis, our previous Environment Minister, also supported this idea.
The problem now is we cannot afford to vitrify all the asbestos we have. Either we need to seek a grant from the UK to help, or we bury the containers – a suggestion that had been made a while ago on a temporary basis, but now looks as it it will have to be permanent.
It is too dangerous, given the facilities we (don’t) have in Jersey, to try to separate out the asbestos from other waste (mostly pipes, etc, from building sites); this means the whole lot will have to be buried together.
Problems with burial include:
– Where exactly to place the many containers
– How to do it safely (so giving no concerns for the health of workers, Islanders and visitors)
– How to ensure there will be no leachate escaping into the ground water and nearby sea; once in the ground, the asbestos will lie there, but other contaminants can escape
– As fast as we bury it, more is arriving; we need a definitite plan in place now
SOS Jersey are requesting meeting with TTS to discuss these matters, and with the SoJDC as they will soon be excavating a huge amount of contaminated ground and taking it to La Collette for TTS to sort out.
SOSJ member Jacqui Carrel was interviewed by Chris Rayner of BBC Radio Jersey this afternoon on these matters; their discussion will be broadcast tomorrow (18 June 2015) morning at 07.00 and available on iPlayer afterwards.