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Poison gas alert in incinerator blast

Sep 23 2006 By The Huddersfield Daily Examiner

POISONOUS gas seeped from Huddersfield's incinerator after an explosion, it has been revealed. The carbon monoxide escaped from the plant in Vine Street, Hillhouse, after a blast on Saturday, September 2. The explosion happened after an engineer over-rode a computer system. A water pipe at the five-year-old plant burst, putting out the incinerator fire. The system shut down the incinerator, but the engineer restarted the process to burn off 90 tonnes of waste left in a pit. But the system was too hot, because the water cooling system was still shut down. The boiler expanded and when it cooled down the floor of the boiler came up. As it contracted, the lining of the boiler shattered. During the burning process the carbon monoxide escaped. The Environment Agency has issued an enforcement notice against Kirklees SITA - which runs the plant - ordering the firm to make sure a similar incident does not happen again. Steve Noble, Kirklees Council environment manager, said: "We checked our air testing stations on Leeds Road and they showed no risk to health at all. They didn't even pick it up." He said repairs at the site were four days ahead of schedule, which mean the plant - which is currently packaging waste for landfill - can be fired up again in the final week of October, with waste being burned from the start of November. Council leader Clr Robert Light said the council was monitoring what had happened. They wanted answers, as well as assurances there would be no repeat. He added: "SITA will be paying for the work." The Health and Safety Executive has launched an inquiry into the incident. The Examiner contacted SITA, but no-one was available for comment.