FINGAL county council has spent a staggering €32m on a planned super dump in north Dublin, a final decision on which is due later this month.
Both An Bord Pleanála and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are set to rule on the controversial landfill after nearly five years of deliberations and five oral hearings.
The contentious 500,000-tonne capacity Nevitt landfill facility in Lusk was even the subject of a complaint to the European Commission last year.
To date, the local authority has spent just over €26m on land acquisition to accommodate the development.
Other cost outlays by the council include €1.45m on a site-selection study and €5.6m on consultants, site investigation, legal fees and borehole compensation.
"The council has thrown money at this since September 2004 when it was announced. They say they can justify the spending but it is a massive waste of public money," said a spokesman for the Nevitt Lusk Action Group (NLAG).
"There are a lot of very contentious issues around this. There is a water supply here called the Bog of the Ring and we have got evidence that this is linked to the area where the landfill is going. The horticulture industry is worth €600m a year to the economy and this will be wiped out if [the dump] goes ahead."
Fingal county council says that the level of expenditure on a programme of this magnitude is not at all unusual, nor is its timing ahead of a ruling by the planning appeals authority.
In relation to claims of water contamination, a spokeswoman said: "It's up to the [EPA] to decide whether the risk is significant enough not to allow the landfill to go ahead."
But she added that the amount of water in question is not significant in the overall context of water in the region.
The landfill is part of the overall Dublin waste-management plan, together with the Ringsend incinerator, composting sites and recycling facilities.