Reports of the Director of Health and Care and UK Health Security Agency
Representatives from Staffordshire Public Health, the Environment Agency and UK Security Agency provided updates to highlight findings from four surveys that had been undertaken to measure odour and symptoms experienced by residents living close to Walley’s Quarry, and to report on the Health Risk Assessment of air quality monitoring and measures taken to reduce the off-site odours from the landfill site, since July’s meeting.
Committee considered the latest community figures from the surveys covering the period between 18 May 2021 and 13 October 2021. The residents self-reported odours and symptoms which indicated that that the air pollution continued to have a detrimental effect but that there had been an increase in the number of mental health symptoms reported due to the length of time residents were impacted by levels of Hydrogen Sulphate H2S.
The EA Project Executive provided a brief update on the strategy and plan to contain, capture and destroy H2S gas including the successful deployment of the posi-shell on 70% of the site. With the temporary capping in place to contain the gas, progress had also been made to drill 20 of the 28 wells and 50% more gas was being captured and destroyed as at same time last year. The data showed a consistent reduction in H2S levels, that measures were having the impact expected and strong regulatory approach was being taken to encourage compliance by the operator. There had been 2 face to face consultation events over consecutive weeks with 160-180 residents attending.
The UK Security Agency UKSA (the successor body to Public Health England) provided an update on the Health Risk Assessment of air quality monitoring results from March to August 2021. The report detailed that the Hydrogen Sulphide H2S data up to the end of August showed continuing exposure to the population around the site at decreased concentration levels compared to March-July 2021 and at 3 of the monitoring sites they were below the long-term (lifetime) health based guidance levels.
The following comments and assurances were noted in response to Members questions:
The Chairman thanked all presenters for contributions and clarity of reports. He welcomed the update on progress to reduce the impact of odour from WQ, that information on any other emissions had been shared and that the air pollution data indicated a decrease month on month.
1. To note the update report and request a further update in 3 months.
2. That further information relating to the impact on resident’s mental health in communities be circulated.