REMEDIATION OF contaminated land has become an important environmental issue, according to the EPA's fourth state of the environment report.
The agency highlights the high number of old sites scattered around the country that need to be surveyed and remediated.
Contaminated sites include disused landfills, abandoned mines and sites of old industrial activities such as steel or gas works. They include municipal and town dumps, some of which have been closed for many years, and disused quarries.
The agency has estimated that there are between 1,980 and 2,300 sites where there is potential for soil contamination, and possibly groundwater contamination.
However, the actual number is unknown as there is currently no national inventory.
The Environmental Protection Agency points out there is no overall policy framework for the identification, management and remediation of contaminated land in Ireland.
Two national projects are under way, however, to establish inventories for historic mines and also for old and unregulated waste disposal sites.
It is likely that remediation will be required for at least some of these old sites.
The Irish Times