The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awaiting the approval of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to commence its assessment for the construction of a chemical warehouse in Georgetown.
The CH&PA first has to determine that the location of the facility falls within the city’s industrial zone before approval is given for the EPA to conduct its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Nalco Champion Guyana Inc. –a company which supplies chemicals and related services to all areas of the petroleum industry –is seeking permission from the EPA to set up a warehouse facility at the John Fernandes Inland Terminal at 4055 Industrial Site, Ruimveldt, Georgetown.
Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams during an interview on Tuesday said the EPA can only start the process after it is assured by the CH&PA that the plant will be built in the right zone.
“We’re not going to proceed to process any application without us [knowing] well ok, they are in the right zone…they’re [Nalco] supposed to be in an industrial zone,” Dr. Adams said.
Residents residing in nearby communities –Houston Gardens, Shirley Field-Ridley Square, Roxanne Burnham Gardens, Guyhoc Park and Banks Park—have raised concerns about the facility and its possible impact on their health.
Dr. Adams has assured that all concerns highlighted will be taken into consideration during the EIA.
“We [are going to] have to look at if something happens, if there is a spill, how it will impact those living close by…how is it going to impact people who live around there,” Dr. Adams said, adding that the residents and anyone else who has an issue will be engaged.
‘The EIA calls for addressing every one of those problems,” he said.
In a notice published on July 3, the EPA had announced that the company submitted an application for authorization for the operation of the facility.
It was disclosed that the facility will be engaged in the filtration, storage and warehousing of oilfield chemicals to supply the Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) vessels, offshore Guyana.
The EPA said the proposed operation will see approximately 1,493,000 kilograms of specialty and commodity chemicals being imported and stored onsite.
According to the Project summary, some of the chemicals are Methanol, Xylene, Asphaltene Inhibitor, Corrosion Inhibitor and Emulsion Breaker which will have to be transferred to the supply boat.
The chemicals will have to be transferred from the wharf to the facility and back to the companies to which it will be supplied.
The notice led to several residents forming a group and calling a press conference to ventilate their issues.
Subsequently, the company met with some of the residents and sought to dispel their fears.
At the meeting at the New Guyana School on July 19, Supply Chain Manager Eric Scott likened the chemicals to substances used by most Guyanese. He compared methanol to rubbing alcohol, xylene to paint thinner, asphaltene to gasoline and emulsion breaker to diesel.
The company also disclosed that it has put a hold all works until the EPA grants approval.