It may take a full three years to clean up Kerdiffstown dump in Naas now that the month-long fires have been extinguished, it has been revealed.
CAN - Clean Air Naas - spokesperson Joe Friel attended a meeting with the EPA - Environmental Protection Agency- last Thursday where the clean-up plan for the 76 acre dump, which contains a whopping two million tonnes of rubbish, was outlined. It was also revealed that the plan must comply fully with EU standards and satisfy the terms of the waste licence.
“This is larger than previous estimates and it will take approximately three years to properly clean-up,” he said.
“The EPA outlined several other short-term initiatives which will further improve matters for the local community. These include the re-organisation and smoothing of several piles of exposed waste and debris, and the installation of gas controls. Over the coming months, it is expected these initiatives will reduce the level of odour and noxious gases which are currently freely escaping from the deserted dump. However it will not eliminate odours and it is important that the public do not presume there will be an immediate odour-free existence,” Mr Friel said.
Following the horrific odours suffered by residents for many years and the serious concerns about public health, CAN are insisting that the dump should never be re-opened.
“We are very satisfied with the recent EPA statements which clearly state that the dump will be closed, capped and managed as would any modern state of the art closed landfill facility,” he said. “We left the EPA in no doubt concerning the most likely public reaction to any attempted re-opening of the dump in the future. The EPA indicated an intention to keep us advised of progress over the coming months. We asked the EPA to heighten their public communications efforts and to consider hosting a public meeting when they have formulated a more detailed clean-up plan.”
Kildare County Council issued a statement on the matter which confirmed that all active fire fighting has been wound down as brigades undertake a ‘phased withdrawal’ from the Kerdiffstown landfill site near Naas.
“The fire which flared up on 18 January was unprecedented in Ireland and it proved very challenging,” it stated. “Initial assessments indicate that by comparison with international experience the time taken to suppress the fire was relatively short given its nature and the environment in which it took place. Fire brigades will maintain a precautionary watch on the site until the middle of next week. The site remains a very dangerous area and people should not enter it for any reason. The Environmental Protection Agency has increased security in the interests of public safety and to prevent further trespass in the area,” the council added.
Meanwhile The EPA has confirmed that it has taken enforcement action against those involved in the operation of the Kerdiffstown site, including three High Court cases. High Court orders are in place preventing the deposit of any further waste onto the Kerdiffstown site.
“The EPA will use its powers under the Waste Management Acts to seek recovery of all costs expended by the State during the remediation project,” said Niamh Hatchell, EPA spokesperson. “The EPA is also seeking orders against directors of the companies who formerly operated the site in order to recover these costs.
“A criminal investigation file relating to the previous operations at the site has been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions,” she said.