The Environment Protection Agency and Laois County Council have confirmed they are investigating a “significant” illegal dump in a special area of conservation. The site is located near the village of Vicarstown along the river Barrow and close to the Grand Canal on lands registered to people who are believed to have strong connections in the waste management business.
Source: IRISH TIMES
The land has been planted in mixed forestry and the waste, estimated at 5½ thousand tonnes, is buried under a forestry roadway which is about two miles long and up to 10 metres wide.
At the end of the road, beside the river Barrow, the waste is at its deepest, more than six feet deep and has a strong smell.
There the dump contains nappies, sanitary waste, broken bottles, milled timber, cans, children’s toys and shoes, make up, toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, plastic bottles and packaging waste.
There are also significant amounts of electrical material including adapters and mobile phones, as well as ceramic insulators, cats’ eyes, broken bollards, oil filters, bricks and marble.
Laois County Council says the dump is their top waste management priority and they are taking it “very seriously”. Legal action is being taken.
The dump is in the electoral area of Fine Gael Cllr Tom Mulhall, who said he and locals are seriously concerned about the dumping close to amenities in a very scenic area.
The Department of Agriculture, citing data protection issues, is not in a position to confirm whether a forestry road grant was applied for or received for the site, and neither the council nor the EPA has licensed the site for waste disposal.
Separated builders’ rubble may be used on forestry roadways under licence.
Inland Fisheries Ireland have confirmed they are liaising with the council as part of a multi-agency investigation but say they can make no comment while legal action is pending.
A spokesman confirmed that in general terms, any illegal dump has potential for pollution of ground and surface water, and that the Barrow, the second longest river in Ireland is “an important mixed-stock fishery supporting salmon and coarse stocks.”
Waterways Ireland has placed up to 20 signs along the narrow towpath on both the Athy and Vicarstown approaches to the site, warning against illegal dumping and pointing out the presence of CCTV cameras.