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Pollution

Volume 100: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to conduct a survey which will establish the background soil levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated terphenyls, PCDs and furans.

My Department is currently considering extension of the present programme of analytical work in order to include PCB determinations in the soil samples which are being examined for dioxins and furans by the University of East Anglia. This information would supplement the background data already available from other sources.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment pursuant to the answer of 21 October 1985, Official Report, column 96, concerning toxic waste, on what foundation of standards the advice on incineration of polychlorinated biphenyls and other toxic wastes is based.

The combustion criteria requirements for the satisfactory destruction of polychlorinated biphenyls are based on work carried out in the United States which originally appeared in "Official Standards Proposal PUB.- No. CP-P1–73 and No. TR-PG-73 (section 2, page 8) of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. They are referred to in the Department of the Environment's waste management paper No. 6 and in the United States Federal Register Vol. 44. No. 106, of 31 May 1979 (PCB Regulations 40 CFR 761.70), and include dwell time 2 secs, temperature 1200ºC (±100ºC), oxygen excess in stock gas 3 per cent.As indicated in my answer to the hon. Member for Falkirk, West on 21 October 1985 at column

98 tests on behalf of Her Majesty's Industrial Air Pollution Inspectorate showed very high efficiencies of combustion of PCBs in commercially available plants.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment pursuant to the answer of 21 October 1985, Official Report, column 97, if he will list the areas where the three commercial high temperature incinerators are operating and the names of the companies involved.

The three commercially available high temperature incinerators licensed for the disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls in the United Kingdom are located as follows:

  • Ellesmere Port, Cheshire—operated by Cleanaway Ltd for liquid PCB wastes only.
  • Pontypool, Gwent — ReChem International Ltd, for solid and liquid PCB wastes.
  • Fawley, Hampshire — ReChem International Ltd, licensed but not currently operated for combustion of PCBs.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the estimated costs of obtaining the information sought in the hon. Member for Falkirk, West's four questions on polychlorinated biphenyls answered on 21 October, Official Report, columns 94–7.

The costs of' obtaining the information in response to any four of the hon. Member's questions on polychlorinated biphenyls answered on 21 October 1985 are difficult to estimate with any precision. No individual answer is likely to have cost more than £200.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the answer of 21 October 1985, about the background levels of dioxins and furans, Official Report, column 96, if he will state (a) the research establishments conducting work in this area and (b) the estimated date of its completion.

A contract was let by my Department in April 1985, to the University of East Anglia, to refine the analytical procedure for the extraction, separation and subsequent quantitative determination of dioxins and furans in soil; and then to analyse a number of soil samples to establish the range of background levels of these compounds in Great Britain. The contract is due for completion in March 1987.