Update from the Environment Agency, Lancashire and Chorley Councils and Public Health England
"Quercia Ltd has been able to extend the amount of time it is working on site to comply with the enforcement notice. Taking in to account the machinery and skilled staff available, the company has extended working time to comply with the notice from 6.00 am until midnight.
Quercia Ltd expect to complete works required to comply with the Environment Agency's enforcement notice today (23 March). An area slightly larger than the area covered by the notice will be capped and sealed and the gas extraction system will start to work. The extraction system should be fully operational by Monday 26 March. There may still be some odours until the extraction system is fully operational
The Environment Agency will inspect the site on Monday to check that Quercia Ltd has complied with the notice. The notice will be lifted if all works required by the enforcement notice are completed. If the notice is lifted, Quercia Ltd has agreed that it would not look to start to accept waste back onto the site until midApril to allow for further monitoring of the odour.
The Environment Agency is considering further enforcement action to take if the odour levels remain unacceptably high once Quercia has complied with the notice.
The Environment Agency's gas monitoring review is now complete and the Environment Agency is considering more improvements that the company need to make to further reduce odour. The Environment Agency will be asking Quercia Ltd to put together a plan of action, with timescales, on how it intends to make the further improvements required. This plan will need to be approved by the Environment Agency, who will continue to closely monitor progress on site.
The Environment Agency has reviewed legal advice on publicly sharing the fixed point air monitoring data and this information can now be shared with the community. The first batch of data will be published onto Citizen Space in the next couple of weeks.
Public Heath England (PHE) continue to interpret the Environment Agency monitoring data, and assess the symptoms that the community are reporting. The air quality data provided by the Environment Agency has been compared to available health-based air quality standards and guidelines. Overall the results are not high enough to be of concern toxicologically and are therefore unlikely to pose a significant risk to the nearby residents’ short or long-term health. There is potential for transient health effects, such as eye and respiratory irritation, but these should subside once elevated levels of hydrogen sulphide diminish.
Due to the low odour threshold of hydrogen sulphide there is high potential for odour complaints in the area. The unpleasant odour may cause discomfort leading to transient nausea, headaches and dizziness.
If people are concerned about their symptoms, they should contact their GP or call NHS 111.
PHE's health survey letters, inviting people to take part in their survey, have now been posted to the communities affected the most by odour. The survey closes on 3 April 2018. To date, 900 people have answered the survey.
The Environment Agency will continue to carry out air quality monitoring while the odour levels are high. It will assess how long to continue with the monitoring once odour levels reduce.
PHE has advised that the level of hydrogen sulphide indoors is unlikely to exceed the health based guidelines and standards based on the current Environment Agency monitoring data. This means that indoor air quality monitoring would not be advised. PHE reiterated the information already provided that people air their properties once the smell has gone to allow any gas indoors to disperse.
Quercia Ltd has organised the next liaison group meeting for 28 March and has sent out invitations to the community representatives that are on the group."