THE amount of waste dumped at the Kerdiffstown dump near Naas is much greater than originally believed.
Early estimates put the quantity at about 1.5m tonnes, but on-site preliminary surveys indicate that some 2.3 million tonnes were ferried to the controversial site before it was shut down by court order 2 years ago.
“This is at the upper end of what we expected but at least the scale of the problem has been confirmed,” said local resident Joe Friel of Clean Air Naas.
However he welcomed the fact that no hazardous waste has yet been found despite a series of probes conducted at the site by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Nothing toxic has been found and that is a relief because given the cavalier fashion the dump was used we feared anything could have been found there,” added Mr. Friel.
“The Environmental Protection Agency cannot guarantee that nothing harmful won’t be found but we’re glad there has not been a sudden emergence of dangerous waste because that would slow down the clean up project,” he said.
The EPA drilled two dozen boreholes to get an accurate picture of the types of waste buried, the location and how thick the deposits are.
No hazardous material was found and the waste is much drier than previously thought. This means that, while there is the clear potential for underground contaminated water to impact on local surface water and groundwater in the future, there is still time to take action to minimise damage to the environment.
A hydrogeological assessment indicates that while there is on-site impact from the waste, to date the effects offsite are limited.
A tender for further site investigation work is to be advertised in the coming days and this further work is scheduled for June and July.
Bad smells ought to be less frequent because the odour control system has a back-up mechanism that will allow for smells to be minimised if a flare breaks down or requires servicing.
EPA representatives met with community representatives on May 9 at the site. Odour control was discussed and the clean up project team will continue to engage with the local community .
The clean up operation will continue for another 4-5 years and will cost in the region of €50m.