From Iceland — Pollution Concerns Over Geothermal Exploration Still Unaddressed

Pollution Concerns Over Geothermal Exploration Still Unaddressed

Published May 19, 2011

The possibility that further geothermal exploration at Bláfjall could greatly increase sulphur levels in the capital area has not been really assessed, Icelandic health experts say.
Eyjan says that a report from geothermal energy consultancy firm Mannvit has been met with disappointment and criticism from Icelandic health care experts. Many of them believe that levels of sulphur in the air throughout the Reykjavík area, including suburban towns, could increase a great deal as a result of geothermal exploration drilling in Gráuhnjúka, located in the mountains of Bláfjall, quite close to the capital.
Árný Sigurðardóttir, from the Reykjavík health supervisory commission, says that Mannvit’s report ignores any mention of sulphur levels outside of the immediate work area. Her staff estimate that sulphur levels could increase by 40% in the capital area alone. Hafnarfjörður’s sulphur levels are already 140% higher than was initially expected, due to the geothermal plant Hellisheiðarvirkjun.
Apart from the smell, sulphur is also poisonous, can damage the respiratory system, and can render soil infertile in high enough levels.

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