Scottish Water Horizons Limited fined for Cumbernauld odours

date12 October 2016

Scottish Water Horizons Limited was fined £26,000 at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Monday 10 October 2016 due to offensive odours coming from its Deerdykes Composting and Organics Recycling facility during 2012.

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The company pled guilty to five charges of failing to comply with the conditions of its former Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit, which was issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The matter was investigated by SEPA officers and a report sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

SEPA first received public complaints of offensive odours on 14 June 2012 when SEPA officers detected offensive odours coming from the activities carried out at the Deerdykes site, which included the composting of wastes.

In response to continued public complaints of odour between June 2012 and November 2012, SEPA officers attended the site, and identified that the outdoor composting of waste and the turning, screening and maturation of the compost was contributing to the offensive odours. SEPA officers also identified that equipment designed to treat odorous air was not performing adequately. The permit was transferred from Scottish Water Horizons Limited to Scottish Water in 2013 and significant improvements have since been made to the way in which the site operates to limit offensive odours.

Fiona Graham, SEPA’s Reporting Officer, said:

The regulations state very clearly that an operator must use the best available techniques for preventing or, where that is not practicable, reducing emissions from the site. Techniques include both the technology used and the way in which the installation is designed, built, maintained and operated.

“The local communities in Condorrat, Cumbernauld, Mollinsburn and Moodiesburn and a neighbouring soft play area, were regularly and severely impacted by the activities of the Deerdykes site over a prolonged period of time.  Although the offensiveness of any odour is subjective, there is a distinctive unpleasantness in being subjected to offensive odours at your home or business.

“Scottish Water Horizons Limited was given the opportunity to put further engineered measures in place to control odours, but insisted that management controls would ensure compliance rather than investing in infrastructure. We hope that this fine demonstrates to all companies that compliance is not an option. If operators do not meet the conditions of their permit, and do not take the required steps to ensure their site is compliant, we will not hesitate to recommend them for prosecution.”

ENDS 

Notes to editors

The exact charges Scottish Water Horizons Limited pled guilty to were:

Charge 1

Between 14th June 2012 and 21st November 2012, both dates inclusive, at Deerdykes Composting and Organics Recycling Facility, Old Quarry Road, Cumbernauld, G68 9NB you, Scottish Water Horizons Limited, being a permit holder in terms of regulation 6 of the aftermentioned regulations, did fail to comply with condition 3.3.1, a condition of said permit, which stated that all emissions to air from the Permitted Installation shall be free from offensive odour, as perceived by an Authorised Person outside the Permitted Installation Boundary in that on 14 June 2012, 20 July 2012, 22 July 2012, 31 July 2012, 1 August 2012, 3 August 2012, 9 August 2012, 14 August 2012, 15 August 2012,16 August 2012, 17 August 2012, 19 August 2012, 20 August 2012, 21 August 2012, 22 August 2012, 23 August 2012, 24 August 2012, 27 August 2012, 30 August 2012, 3 September 2012, 4 September 2012, 7 September 2012, 18 November 2012 and 21 November 2012 offensive odours from the Permitted Installation were detected by an authorised person, namely authorised officers of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency outside the boundary of the Permitted Installation;

CONTRARY to the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 Regulation 30(1)(b) as amended, and the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 Section 2.

Charge 2

Between 14th June 2012 and 21st November 2012, both dates inclusive, at Deerdykes Composting and Organics Recycling Facility, Old Quarry Road, Cumbernauld, G68 9NB you, Scottish Water Horizons Limited, being a permit holder in terms of regulation 6 of the aftermentioned regulations, did fail to comply with the implied condition laid out in Regulation 9(11) and (12) of the aftermentioned regulations a condition of said permit which stated that in operating the installation or mobile plant, the operator shall use the best available techniques for preventing or, where that is not practicable, reducing emissions from the installation or mobile plant in that the techniques in place for monitoring the effective performance of plant on site were insufficient; A) there were insufficient procedures in place to monitor odour abatement equipment at the installation in that there was only one procedure in place for the Monitoring and Maintenance of the Effective Operation of the Plant on Site, namely WSP17 or 53.03.01.01.02 - Monitoring of Odour Abatement Equipment, and the procedure laid down did not amount to the best available techniques; B) the said procedure at A) above was not followed, including that results of tests conducted were not recorded on the requisite forms (SF40 and SF41), it was not recorded whether any samples taken were sent for analysis, as required, and only a single person undertook sniff tests; C) that monitoring took place on site that was not governed by any written procedure; D) that staff were not made sufficiently aware of nor were they trained in properly conducting the procedures referred to at A) above, including that they were not trained to conduct sniff tests properly and odour was not detected by staff on site when it should have been and sniff tests were not accurately recorded; E) there was no procedure in place to respond to, nor was there an adequate response to the detection of increased odour from plant on site; F) that despite receiving information from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and ADAS UK that an increase in odour had been detected and that plant at the site was not operating effectively, there was no procedure in place to react to this information nor any proper investigation conducted after this information was received; G) that there was a lack of clarity as to who was responsible for ensuring odour monitoring procedures on site were followed and who should react to information obtained from the monitoring; H) that no procedure set down how monitoring would determine whether or not the odour abatement plant was working effectively, nor were staff made adequately aware of how monitoring would determine the effectiveness of odour abatement plant on site, or what to do if they became aware that plant was not working effectively;

CONTRARY to the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 Regulation 30(1)(b) as amended, and the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 Section 2

Charge 3

On 15th August 2012 and 4th September 2012 at Deerdykes Composting and Organics Recycling Facility, Old Quarry Road, Cumbernauld, G68 9NB you, Scottish Water Horizons Limited, being a permit holder in terms of regulation 6 of the aftermentioned regulations, did fail to comply with condition 6.1.3 a condition of said permit which stated that All Operations following the removal of sanitised compost batches from the In Vessel Composting tunnels shall be carried out in a manner so as not to cause, or be likely to cause, offensive odour outwith the boundary of the Permitted Installation in that on 15 August 2012 and 4 September 2012, the storage, screening and movement of the sanitised compost batches, following their removal from the In Vessel Composting tunnels, was carried out in a manner which caused or was likely to cause offensive odour outwith the boundary of the Permitted Installation in that a) compost piles were brought to the outdoor maturation pads prematurely, b) the outdoor compost material was too wet, leading to odorous liquid draining from the compost piles, c) outdoor compost piles were not adequately covered with oversize material, and d) on each of these dates the outdoor compost batches caused or contributed to offensive odour detected outwith the boundary;

CONTRARY to the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 Regulation 30(1)(b) as amended, and the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 Section 2.

Charge 4

On  15 August 2012 and 04 September 2012 at Deerdykes Composting & Organics Recycling Facility, Old Quarry Road, Cumbernauld, G68 9NB you Scottish Water Horizons Limited, being a permit holder in terms of regulation 6 of the aftermentioned regulations, did fail to comply with condition 6.1.4 a condition of said permit which stated that Notwithstanding Condition 6.1.3, the Operator shall as a minimum ensure that sanitised compost batches are covered with suitable material, such as woodchip, final compost product or geotextile fabrics to reduce as far as practicable the likelihood of offensive odours being detected outwith the boundary of the Permitted Installation in that the sanitised compost batches had not been covered with suitable material to reduce as far as practicable the likelihood of offensive odours being detected outwith the boundary of the Permitted Installation;

CONTRARY to the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 Regulation 30(1)(b) as amended, and the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 Section 2

Charge 5

Between 11th July 2012 and 21st November 2012, both dates inclusive, at Deerdykes Composting and Organics Recycling Facility, Old Quarry Road, Cumbernauld, G68 9NB you , being a permit holder in terms of regulation 6 of the aftermentioned regulations, did fail to comply with condition 5.2.9 a condition of said permit which stated that the Operator shall ensure that the filter media in the odour abatement plant serving the composting mixing building, described at Condition 1.1.4.1 (c) (iii), is replaced with new filter media every 2 months starting 31 May 2012 or at a frequency agreed in writing with SEPA or should odour breakthrough be detected which may cause, or be likely to cause, offensive odour outwith the boundary of the Permitted Installation in that the filter media in the odour abatement plant serving the compost mixing building had not been changed since 11 July 2012 and odour breakthrough occurred;

CONTRARY to the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 Regulation 30(1)(b) as amended, and the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 Section 2.