Luxembourgh Times

Waste spilled at biogas plant contained

Plant converts animal waste into heat for neighbouring Junglinster

The emergency services had set up a second earth wall to stop the leakage.

The emergency services had set up a second earth wall to stop the leakage. © Photo credit: Gerry Huberty

By Volker Bingenheimer and Gabrielle Antar

A waste leak at a biogas plant in the village of Gonderange forced a quick response to avoid contaminating a neighbouring stream.

More than a third of the 3,000 cubic metres of fermentation liquid that leaked on Monday later seeped into the surrounding ground, said Lënster Energie, which produces energy for the neighbouring town of Junglinster.

The liquid consisting mainly of animal manure and other agricultural waste turned a nearby field black, the Luxemburger Wort reported.

A quick reaction to the spill from a broken pipe joint allowed the pollution to be contained quickly, Luxembourg's Environment Ministry said on Tuesday. The fermentation solution did not spill into the nearby stream called the Roudemerbaach, the ministry said in a statement.

"We noticed the problem right away, as the staff were busy in another area of the plant. So we were able to intervene directly," said Jean Schummer, director of Lënster Energie and operator of the biogas plant.

The incident could constitute a violation of environmental laws and the public prosecutor's office has been informed, the ministry said.

The biogas plant converts manure, slurry, green waste and energy plants into heat used in buildings in Junglinster's Langwiss industrial estate and Jong Mëtt residential area. The plant also feeds 1,500 kilowatt hours of electricity into the country's electricity grid.