Dáil Éireann - Volume 415 - 18 February, 1992

Written Answers. - Chromium Concentrates in Soil.

329. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for the Environment if he intends to set limits on chromium concentrations in soil; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment (Miss Harney): General controls on discharges and emissions of pollutants, including chromium, may be applied under the Air Pollution Act, 1987, and the Water Pollution Acts, 1977 and 1990.

The Environmental Protection Agency Bill, 1990, provides that prescribed activities capable of polluting the environment will be required to have a licence from the agency which will, inter alia, control emissions to the environmental media of land, air and water.

The European Communities (Use of Sewage Sludge in Agriculture) Regulations, 1991, prescribe standards for the heavy metals content of sewage sludge used in agriculture and for concentrations of heavy metals in soil where sludge is used or proposed to be used. Standards were not set for chromium under the directive or regulations but were to be fixed by the EC Council of Ministers on the basis of a subsequent proposal from the Commission; this proposal has still to be agreed.

Any waste containing or contaminated by chrome six compounds in such quantities or in such concentrations as to constitute a risk to health or to the environment would constitute a toxic and dangerous waste and is controllable under the European Communities (Toxic and Dangerous Waste) Regulations, 1982.