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Public Consultation on Code of Practice for the Chemical Agent Regulations

Summary

In accordance with Section 60 of the 2005 Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act, the Health and Safety Authority invites comments from interested parties on the draft revision of the 2016 Code of Practice for the Chemical Agents Regulations. The HSA requests that comments on the draft are submitted to consultation@hsa.ie before close of business on Wednesday, 18 April 2018.

Background

The draft 2018 Code of Practice for the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations 2001 (as amended):

  • updates and replaces the “2016 Code of Practice for the Chemical Agents Regulations)”, based on the latest available relevant scientific information, and
  • fulfils the commitment as stated in the foreword of the 2016 Code of Practice to update the Code of Practice periodically, where appropriate.

The draft 2018 Code of Practice includes the following updates / amendments:

  • Schedule 1 has been updated to take account of Schedule 2 to the 2016 Code of Practice, which listed intended changes to introduce a new OELV or to change an existing OELV.
  • Schedule 1 has been updated to adopt new Indicative OELVs from EU Commission Directive (4th list of IOELVs) 2017/164/EU.
  • Schedule 1 has been updated to include new Binding OELVs following an amendment to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) by EU Directive 2017/2398.
  • All updates included in Schedule 1 of the 2018 Code of Practice are in bold for ease of reference
  • Schedule 2 has been updated to include possible changes to current OELV values and new entrants for the next iteration of the Code of Practice
  • Schedule 3 – the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Numbers Index. It is proposed to remove Schedule 3 as CAS Numbers and EC numbers for chemical substances can be obtained from a number of online sources such as the CAS registry and the ECHA Dissemination portal.
  • Identified errata from the 2016 Code of Practice have been addressed

Public Consultation

The draft 2018 Code of Practice for the Chemical Agent Regulations was approved to go for public consultation by the Board of the Health and Safety Authority on 9 March 2018. Having assessed inputs received through the consultation process, the Board will then consider the document for final approval. It is intended to publish the approved Code of Practice by August 2018.

Changes in this edition

An Explanatory Note and Analysis document has been developed to explain the key changes in this revised Code of Practice for the Chemical Agents Regulations.

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The Medium Combustion Plants (MCP) Directive (EU) 2015/2193

The Medium Combustion Plants (MCP) Directive (EU) 2015/2193 was adopted in 2015 to limit emissions to atmosphere from boilers and other stationary combustion plant in the 1-50 MW(thermal input) range. It covers all fuel types. The Directive was implemented in Irish legislation by SI 595 of 2017, European Union (Medium Combustion Plants) Regulations 2017.

The SI sets emission limit values (ELVs) from new combustion plants from 2018, while operators of existing MCPs will have longer to comply with stricter emission standards.

Summary of Requirements

The following are the key deadlines:

  • December 2018: Deadline date for “existing” plant. From that date all new plant must meet ELVs for new plant.
  • November 2023: Existing plant > 5 MW must apply to the EPA to be registered
  • January 2025: Existing plant > 5 MW must meet relevant ELVs
  • November 2028: Existing plant < 5 MW must apply to the EPA to be registered
  • January 2030: Existing plant < 5 MW must meet relevant ELVs

Most boilers in Ireland are fueled using either natural gas or diesel (gas oil). The following emission limit values will apply (for other fuels please consult the Directive):

For existing combustion plant > 5 MW the following ELVs apply from January 2025:

  • NOx – 200 mg/Nm3 – natural gas and gas oil (boilers)
  • NOx – 190 mg/Nm3 – natural gas and gas oil (engines)
  • For existing combustion plant < 5 MW the following ELVs apply from January 2030:
  • NOx – 250 mg/Nm3 (natural gas) – 200 mg/Nm3 (gas oil) (boilers)
  • NOx – 190 mg/Nm3 (natural gas) – 250 mg/Nm3 (gas oil) (engines)
  • For new plant (post December 2018) the following ELVs apply:
  • NOx – 100 mg/Nm3 (natural gas) – 200 mg/Nm3 (gas oil) (boilers)
  • NOx – 95 mg/Nm3 (natural gas) – 190 mg/Nm3 (gas oil) (engines)

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Soil Recovery Waste Acceptance Criteria

In December 2017, the EPA issued a draft Guidance Note on Soil Recovery Waste Acceptance Criteria. This guidance document applies to soil recovery facilities which exceed the operational thresholds for waste facility permits as set out in the Third Schedule of the Waste Management (Facility Permit and Registration) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 821 of 2007) as amended. Facilities that exceed these thresholds are required to operate under a Waste Licence granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (the Agency).

Licensed soil recovery facilities are typically worked-out quarries that are in the process of being restored. They may also be sites where relatively large volumes of soil are being imported to raise natural ground levels. In both cases the soil recovery facilities are licensed to accept only uncontaminated natural soil and stone.

Unlike landfills, soil recovery facilities are not required to have an engineered basal liner, nor are they required to install an engineered cap following completion of restoration or land raising. As such there are no engineering controls to protect groundwater from contamination that may be present in soil used as backfill at these facilities. Because of this, it is important that precautions are taken by operators of these facilities, both prior to accepting soil from individual source sites and while soil is being received, to ensure that only uncontaminated soil and stone is accepted. It is best practice to monitor incoming materials so that the Licensee can determine if this material is uncontaminated and suitable for acceptance at their site.

Licences granted by the Agency for soil recovery facilities may include a condition requiring the licensee to propose maximum concentrations and/or trigger levels for relevant contaminants in soil and stone proposed for acceptance at the facility from non-greenfield sources. This document provides guidance on developing soil trigger levels that will be acceptable to the Agency, to comply with these conditions.

There are a number of licensed soil recovery facilities operating in Ireland that have received backfill material in the absence of soil trigger levels having been agreed with the Agency.  In these cases, it is necessary that licensees demonstrate to the Agency either that the backfill received at the facility to date is compliant with soil trigger levels developed in accordance with this guidance, or that the existing facility is not causing environmental pollution.

In such cases, and in the absence of relevant parametric monitoring to demonstrate compliance with the trigger levels specified in the guidance doc, the licensee shall submit a proposal to the Agency to undertake a programme of soil sampling (assuming soil samples have not been retained or are unsuitable for testing) and laboratory analysis for approval.  This proposal should specify how and where soil sampling is to be undertaken, as samples should be taken from a sufficient number of locations and range of depths to be fully representative of materials placed at the site.

If the results of this testing programme indicate that material has been used as backfill that exceeds the soil trigger levels for the facility, then the licensee shall complete a hydrogeological assessment that considers whether the facility is compliant with the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Groundwater) Regulations.

The Closing date for comments on this draft guidance document was 16th March 2018.

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Soil Recovery Waste Acceptance Criteria
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