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EDL defends handling of hazardous materials at Jiyyeh Power Plant

Responding to local reports, the utility compared the situation to the Zouk plant.

EDL defends handling of hazardous materials at Jiyyeh Power Plant

The headquarters of EDL in Beirut. (Credit: P.H.B.)

Electricité du Liban (EDL) issued a statement on Thursday in response to a June 15 article on the news site Grand Liban. The article focused on "hazardous materials" stored at the Jiyyeh power plant in Chouf district — a situation reminiscent of issues at the idle thermal power plant in Zouk, Kesrouan district.

The article referenced a message posted on X by former Future Movement MP Mohammad Hajjar. "Although the expired chemicals used during the operation of Jiyyeh’s thermal units were detected long ago by the army, we do not know why the contracted company Tecmo/Combilift has not been able to obtain the necessary authorizations to remove these materials from the plant," Hajjar said.

Citing anonymous sources, Grand Liban raised numerous questions about the potential danger of the materials, their packaging, and the conditions under which they were to be removed. EDL stated that the information reported by the site was "completely false" and asserted that the chemicals stored at Jiyyeh are "similar to those at Zouk." Referring to the products used to run the production units — a point also highlighted by Grand Liban — the utility assured that they pose "no risk to public safety in and around the plant," and that they are "well-packaged and inspected by security services and competent authorities."

In late May, EDL indicated that the products at Zouk were non-flammable, could not explode, and "posed no danger to public safety." The public utility also denied "rumors" circulated by media and social networks about "the presence of ammonium nitrate" at the plant.

Cabinet tasks Lebanese Army to evacuate Zouk electricity plant hazardous material to 'safe place'

Cabinet tasks Lebanese Army to evacuate Zouk electricity plant hazardous material to 'safe place'

EDL added that the materials at Jiyyeh were to be evacuated according to regulations and in "a single container," but the contracted company Tecmo — representing the German firm Combilift — had not obtained authorizations from the relevant ministries, particularly the Environment Ministry. This situation is similar to what is happening at Zouk, a parallel EDL highlighted. "Several companies specializing in this field have been contacted, and five of them have stated they are ready to make an offer for the destruction or removal of these materials," the public supplier concluded, without providing further details.

Combilift was responsible for disposing of chemical products at the Beirut port, where a devastating double explosion of several tons of ammonium nitrate occurred on Aug. 4, 2020. It also inspected the chemical products stored at the Tripoli oil installations in northern Lebanon, which were also the center of controversy.

Demonstrators protest storage of 'dangerous products' in Tripoli oil installations

Demonstrators protest storage of 'dangerous products' in Tripoli oil installations

The caretaker Lebanese government asked the army last Friday to "immediately" transfer the chemical products stored at the Zouk power plant to an "uninhabited and safe" location pending 

This article was originally published in French in L'Orient-Le Jour.

Electricité du Liban (EDL) issued a statement on Thursday in response to a June 15 article on the news site Grand Liban. The article focused on "hazardous materials" stored at the Jiyyeh power plant in Chouf district — a situation reminiscent of issues at the idle thermal power plant in Zouk, Kesrouan district.The article referenced a message posted on X by former Future Movement MP Mohammad...