Republican News · Thursday 18 May 2000

[An Phoblacht]

SF unveils waste plan for North-East

``Viable alternative to incineration'' - Ó Caoláin

There is now a concerted effort to build a network of incinerators throughout the country. They will constitute an industry, the raw material of which is waste. This region, and Ireland, should not be going down this road.

A new system for management of agricultural waste which could greatly benefit agriculture and enhance the environment in Counties Cavan, Monaghan and beyond has been unveiled by Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. The innovative alternative to waste incineration is included in the Sinn Féin response to the Draft Waste Management Plan for the North East Region which was submitted on 12 May.

``This is an exciting idea on which much original and pioneering work has been done by its originators, Microclean Ltd.'' said Ó Caoláin. The system, which uses spent mushroom compost, poultry litter and oil-contaminated soil to produce a quality topsoil can be a key element in waste management for the entire North East region comprising Counties Monaghan, Cavan, Louth and Meath.''The Draft Plan as presented to the four County Councils is inadequate, especially its reliance on the construction of an incinerator for this region. However, as well as identifying theshortcomings of the plan, we felt it was vital also to present alternatives.''

The proposed Microclean system can be adapted to deal with other agicultural waste such as that from pig and cattle production.

The response to the Draft Plan was drawn up by Deputy Ó Caoláin and his nine Sinn Féin County Councillor colleagues in the region. We carry here a summary of the Submission.

Innovative Project

This Submission introduces a new and very innovative project. This concept in waste management has its origin in the difficulties faced by mushroom and poultry producers in this region, particularly in Co. Monaghan. Their undoubted potential to expand is not being met because the waste products from the industry - spent mushroom compost and poultry litter - cannot be adequately managed at present. The local authority in Co. Monaghan, therefore, has had to restrict permissions for additional poultry and mushroom production facilities.

Conscious of the problem of agricultural waste management and the consequent restriction on a key industry in the region, Cavan/Monaghan Dáil Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin requested Microclean Environmental Ltd, a company specialising in treatment of hydrocarbon contaminated soil, to come up with a solution.

Thus was made the apparently unlikely connection between spent mushroom compost, poultry litter and hydrocarbon contaminated soil. Microclean developed the concept and came up with a unique solution.

The Microclean Waste Treatment Project is simple and straightforward. It converts three environmentally damaging forms of waste into a valuable and natural substance which is in short supply.

Poultry litter and spent mushroom compost present major challenges to the industry and to local authorities. Contaminated soil is a persistent problem. Spills of oil and other hydrocarbons literally kill the soil, destroying all organisms and shutting out air and water. Most spills occur in the domestic sphere - accidents with home-heating oil tanks predominantly.

Poultry and mushroom farming solution

The Microclean Project offers a solution to the poultry and mushroom farmer and to the householder whose soil is destroyed. The farmers' waste is managed and the householder has his or her contaminated soil replaced with a quality topsoil.

There are three stages to the process:

1. Poultry litter and spent mushroom compost is mixed in carefully controlled and monitored conditions to produce a balanced compost.

2. Oil contaminated soil is treated (inoculated) with a naturally occurring micro-organism to produce pre-remediated soil.

3.The compost and the pre-remediated soil are mixed to produce a rich topsoil.

Microclean have completed comprehensive research and development work on their proposal. They are at present seeking funding for a pilot project.

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