The Complicated Permit Process for a Plant That Requires Expansion
Oulu Biogas Plant project started in 2013 as a result of the common will between Biotehdas Ltd and Oulun Jätehuolto Ltd. As preliminary study showed the project to be profitable, Watrec Ltd immediately began to push forward the project by launching the environmental permit processes for a biogas plant treating 19 000 tons of biodegradable waste annually. Initially the idea was to start the project quickly under the EIA-limit (Environment Impact Assessment). But at the same time in the design phase it was taken into account that the volumes of treated waste might increase to the same level as other Biotehdas facilities have, that is to say 60 000 tons per year.
- Oulun Biotehdas Ky, Gasum Ltd.
- Environmental Impact Assesment and other Environmental Permits
- The plant was initially built smaller and the possible expansion imposed challenges to the permit process
- Watrec implemented the EIA process rapidly to reach the urgent schedule
The environmental permission to handle 19 000 tons of waste was obtained at the end of 2014 and the plant was launched already in the very beginning of year 2015. Following the stipulated schedule was of high importance in order that Biotehdas Ltd would be able to receive incoming wastes from Oulun Jätehuolto Ltd in compliance with the contract.
In addition to the environmental permit, also chemical substance audits, safety plan and ATEX documentation were completed before commissioning of the plant. These procedures ensured safe working conditions with biogas and chemicals. Before commissioning, plant establishment and plant approval had to be delivered to Evira (Finnish Food Safety Authority) in order to exploit the end products. HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) procedure had to be drawn up also during this phase. With HACCP analysis end products were ensured to be of proper quality so they can be used as fertilizers.
Less than a year after the operation have started, the need to expand the plant’s processing capacity up to 60 000 tons was revealed. So, again Watrec took over the regulatory obligations and the EIA-process started at the end of the year 2015. EIA is expected to be completed in early autumn 2016. After completion of the EIA, new construction and environmental permits should be applied again. Other official documents must also be updated at the same time.
Biotehdas Ltd has been receiving fast and professional services from Watrec Ltd for each of their plants around Finland. In Riihimäki, a new EIA-record was achieved as the whole EIA-process was completed in just 7 months! For a successful completion of the project, of vital importance should be: coordination of plant design, fulfilment of customer’s needs and requirements, following the regulations of the authorities as well as an active dialogue with residents of the area.
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