Tuesday 4 March 2008

Superdump outside city may pollute vital source of tap water

TAP WATER could be contaminated by a proposed new superdump, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ) public inquiry heard yesterday.

The landfill, spanning some 600 acres, will be sitting on top on the biggest water acquifer in the country which supplies drinking water to thousands of homes, according to the Nevitt/Lusk Action Group.

The group says the presence of a huge underground acquifer has already been confirmed by five hydrogeologists and the project cannot be allowed to go ahead at Tooman/Nevitt, near Lusk, in north county Dublin.

Declan White, group spokesman, said yesterday their concerns related to the possibility of the underground acquifer which supplies tap water being contaminated by an estimated 36,500 tonnes of leachate a year. The water would be used to dilute the leachate, he claimed.

Spanish green MEP David Hammerstein attended the opening day of the EPA licence hearing in Balbriggan at the request of the European Parliament Petitions Committee.

Opponents to the project say a source from the groundwater is used by fruit and vegetable growers in north county Dublin, who grow around 55pc of the country's fresh produce.

They claim the the environmental impact assessment does not properly describe or assess the presence of a major water source under the proposed landfill.

Fine Gael MEP Avril Doyle said she was particularly concerned that the Environmental Impact Statement on the project did not mention the presence of a large groundwater supply, despite this information being available.

An Bord Pleanala has postponed taking a planning decision on the dump because of a submission on archaeology issues from the Department of the Environment.

An oral hearing into the landfill near Lusk, which is due to have a capacity of 500,000 tonnes of municipal waste a year, was held in October of last year.

The EPA licence inquiry also heard yesterday from Indaver, the incinerator company, which is planning to construct two major facilities, in Co Meath and Cork.

The company argued that Ireland has excess landfill capacity and there was an urgent need to direct waste further up the waste hierarchy away from landfill, which is at the bottom of the waste hierarchy.

Fingal Co Council, which is behind the landfill, claim the site was chosen using current best international practice for responsible landfill site selection and having regard to the draft EPA manual on the landfill of waste.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent


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