Massive Mobuoy dump in Derry: Faughan drinking water 'being tested every day' Council told

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee have received an update on the Mobuoy Remediation Project.
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The presentation by Mobuoy Project Sponsor, Jonathan Grey, and Project Manager, Claire O’Neill followed a councillor motion in March, to contact the team and “extend an invitation to council to provide answers to questions from Members”.

An estimated 1.6 tonnes of waste was illegally dumped at the the 46-hectare site, located on the outskirts of Derry City.

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The River Faughan, which provides 60 percent of the district’s drinking water, runs adjacent to the site, with its drinking water extraction point located south of the dump.

A view of the River Faughan at Drumahoe. LS46-115KMA view of the River Faughan at Drumahoe. LS46-115KM
A view of the River Faughan at Drumahoe. LS46-115KM

Ms O’Neill said that now a quantitative risk assessment for the site was complete, the next stage is to develop a “complete and detailed appraisal” of remediation options which will lead to a public consultation and finally a remediation strategy.

She added that, due to the size and complexity of the site, there is “no one option to fit it all” in terms of a strategy.

“We’re looking at an integrated approach,” she said. “So for example in an area of the site where the A6 interjects, the primary option is to remove the waste, process it, and remove recyclables”.

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“But there will be some off site disposal [at the area], so it’s not just one option and there will be an integrated solution which needs to be worked through.”

Ms O’Neill said the cost details for the remediation “will come, but are part of the business case process”.

“Normally they will run in parallel; you’ll find your option and develop a business case. But the business case is a working draft and can’t be completed until consultation is complete on the optimum remediation strategy.

“What is vitally important is the protection of public health and the drinking water. An extensive environmental monitoring programme is ongoing every day, the water’s tested every day, and we’re working with NI Water.

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“To date the monitoring showed no impact on the River Faughan, but there’s no room for complacency and monitoring is key.”

People Before Profit Councillor Shaun Harkin asked if the reinstatement of the Northern Ireland Executive was “making any difference to moving this forward”.

“I don’t think the public feels like this is being acted upon quickly enough,” Councillor Harkin said.

“It’s been exposed now for more than a decade and I there’s a lot of frustration that we haven’t moved faster to deal with this.”

Councillor Harkin said there was public concern that waste around the River Faughan may not be removed.

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He added: “I want to get agreement that excavation of waste close to the river needs to happen, as this is a particular concern that some people have.”

Mr Grey said it was “hugely important” that Stormont had returned and the team had been “working through the important information consultation” to bring it to Ministers.

He added: “In terms of the consultation itself, it will specifically look at remediation options and there’s a very specific focus on that.”

SDLP Councillor Declan Norris said this was a “very complex situation” and asked when the team would be ready to take their plan to Ministers and engage in the public consultation.

“It’s very complex,” Councillor Norris said. “So for residents, I can only urge that you get to that public consultation stage, because residents are concerned and it’s a long time coming.”

Mr Grey said the team was still “working through the information and advice”, and couldn’t set a timeline for the consultation.

“But there is momentum with this,” he said. “ And we will be moving forward with this as quickly as possible.

“I wouldn’t like to be here in a year’s time, still talking about the consultation.”

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