Waste management firm Epler & Lorenz is planning to build a €15 million hazardous waste incineration plant on the northern outskirts of Tartu, replacing the current plant on Ravila tänav.
While the current incineration plant has a capacity of 2,000 tonnes per year, the new plant will have a capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year. The new plant will replace the old one, will be more powerful and will meet new environmental requirements.
The plant will be financed with a bank loan and the company's own resources.
Janis Lorenz, member of the management board of AS Epler & Lorenz, told ERR the new plant will be the largest in Estonia. The plant will be able to burn waste such as old oils and paints, adhesives, varnishes, hospital waste and old medicines.
The plant will aim to be, first and foremost, of use for people in south Estonia and possibly beyond, he said.
"In Estonia, if we exclude oil shale ash, a little over 100,000 tons of hazardous waste is generated annually. The capacity of our incinerator is planned to be 15,000 tons. We can't say that we can now accept all hazardous waste because we can't," he said.
Lorenz said people living close to the plant do not have to worry about the smell of incineration as the planned plant will handle waste inside the building and the fumes will not reach the outside.
Currently, an application has been made to the Environmental Board for the construction of the building and the building is being designed.
Whether or not an environmental impact assessment is required will be decided by the Environmental Board. As the current incineration has been carrying out the same activity on the site for several years, it may not be necessary to carry out a new assessment.
Riina Vaht, the administrator of the integrated permit of the Environmental Board, said: "A new environmental impact assessment may be initiated if we see that the activity has changed dramatically."
Deputy Mayor of Tartu Reno Laidre said the city government will form an opinion when the environmental issues surrounding the incineration become clear.
Editor: Helen Wright