For the past two years, the CIF has highlighted the ongoing crisis in the reuse and disposal of soil and stone and construction waste with the Taoiseach, successive Ministers such as Simon Coveney and Denis Naughton, in addition to senior civil servants in the Department of Housing and the Environmental Protection Agency amongst others.
This crisis has not been resolved and members are being put in an untenable position. The CIF has communicated to Government at the highest level that the crisis is now undermining the delivery of housing and critical infrastructure. Delays in resolving this issue by the EPA means companies face costly ambiguity about the treatment of their construction waste.
In 2016, the CIF suggested a range of solutions pertaining to the usage of Article 27 and the ‘end of waste’ processes that could declassify certain material as a waste. These matters have not yet been resolved leading to the current unacceptable situation.
For example, in November 2017, the EPA published guidance on Article 27 of the European Communities (Waste Directive) Regulations 2011.
However, between 2015 and February 2018, from the 240 soil and stone notifications submitted, only 5 notifications have been approved by the EPA, 58 have been classified as waste with all 177 remaining notifications pending without any timeline for adjudication.
To highlight industry concerns, the CIF is meeting with the EPA on May 9 where the federation will robustly outline the immediate actions that should be taken. In advance of this meeting, the Director General will again highlight this crisis to the Taoiseach, the Minister for Housing and the Minister for Communications, Climate Change & Environment.
In addition, the CIF has also submitted its recommendations to the Department of Communications Climate Action & Environment requesting:
- Extension of the capacity for Certificate of Registration sites from 25,000 to 50,000 tonnes and for Waste Facility Permit sites from 100,000 to 500,000 tonnes;
- The need to introduce a reasonable timeframe on adjudication of Article 27 notifications
- Industry also called for all Article 27 Notifications up to 25,000 tonnes to be assessed by local authorities rather than the EPA on a national basis
- Establishment of the proposed Construction Waste Resource Group to include representatives of all stakeholders including regulatory bodies.
The CIF will now:
- Meet the EPA highlighting the urgent necessity for the assessment of Article 27 Notifications within a reasonable timeframe and outline the concerns of the proposed new Waste Assessment Criteria for EPA Licensed Soil Recovery Facilities;
- Meet the Department of Climate Action and Environment calling for the immediate establishment of the Construction Waste Resource Group, a streamlined process for assessment of future Article 27 Notifications, and a decision on increasing the capacity of waste permits;
- Highlight to both the EPA and the Department the difficulties associated with the classification of crushed concrete as a waste
Mobile Concrete Crushing Equipment
Members have already been advised of their obligations to secure a waste facility permit for all mobile concrete crushing equipment. Local authorities may allow the temporary use of crushed material on site on a case by case basis. Such usage may be for up to 6 months, with scope for extension by prior approval of the local authority. Any proposal for the temporary reuse of crushed concrete on site should be detailed in the C&D waste management plan. Prior to the temporary usage of such material, confirmation should be available from an environmental consultant that the material is not contaminated and detail the testing undertaken.
All crushed material is currently classified as a waste and subject to disposal at regulated waste facilities irrespective of the holding of a valid waste facility permit for any mobile crushing equipment.
Waste Acceptance Criteria and Development of Soil Trigger Values for EPA Licensed Soil Recovery Facilities
The EPA published a consultation document on Waste Acceptance Criteria & Development of Soil Trigger Values for EPA Licensed Soil Recovery Facilities. The Federation has highlighted its concerns in relation to the use of bulk testing versus leachable component and validity of the Teagasc soil database to determine trigger values. The Federation has also emphasised that any new criteria should have an effective date for future operations and that compliant materials accepted, deposited and tested to waste acceptance criteria (WAC) should not to be the subject of further analysis. This submission was made to the EPA in March 2018.