the burial of 42,000 tonnes of hazardous waste from Stocamine canceled by the courts – Liberation


Arsenic and old bins

The Nancy administrative court of appeal annulled the prefectural decree which authorized the total containment of this former mine where 42,000 tonnes of waste are stored. A decision that was taken in January by Barbara Pompili.

In January, the Minister for the Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, visited the Stocamine site in Wittelsheim (Haut-Rhin). Because she didn’t want “Not that a decision is taken from a Paris office”, and “not one [seul de ses prédécesseurs] did not move his ass to come ”. It had decided to completely contain the old potash mine, where 42,000 tonnes of non-radioactive toxic waste (asbestos, arsenic, mercury, etc.) are stored under the water table in Alsace, to the chagrin of local communities and environmental associations. But a few days before the start of the work, the administrative court of appeal of Nancy canceled this Friday the prefectural decree which authorized the burying “For an unlimited period” garbage.

Justice had been seized by the Grand Est region, the European Collectivity of Alsace, the municipality of Wittelsheim and the Alsace Nature association. In its judgment, the court emphasizes that the company des Mines de potasse d’Alsace (MDPA), which operates Stocamine, “Does not justify having the financial capacities enabling it to carry out unlimited operation and to assume all the requirements likely to result from the extension of the authorization”. She therefore calls the prefect to “Carry out a new assessment of the financial guarantees provided by the operator”.

Possible pollution of the water table in Alsace

The operation of the Stocamine site was authorized in 1997 for thirty years by a first prefectural decree, in order to convert this end-of-life potash mine into an underground industrial landfill, and to store 320,000 tonnes of hazardous waste there at 535 meters deep. The supply of waste was interrupted in 2002 after a fire in one of the storage sites, when more than 44,000 tonnes had already been lowered. Since then, studies have multiplied to highlight the dangers involved in removing toxic waste but also the risks that their containment would pose to the environment, and in particular the possible pollution of the water table in Alsace.

Under François Hollande’s five-year term, the state had decided to withdraw 93% of mercury waste, and to contain the rest of the waste. A prefectural decree was issued in March 2017 to authorize confinement “unlimited” garbage. Faced with the rebellion of local communities and associations for the defense of the environment, the State then again considered to proceed with an additional waste withdrawal. But Barbara Pompili had therefore put an end to the uncertainty in January, by deciding on the definitive containment of the waste. Development work had been carried out on site for several months and the first concrete pourings, aimed at forming impermeable plugs preventing access to waste, were expected in early November.


Source: Libération by www.liberation.fr.

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