The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has poured nearly €200,000 into the clean-up of suspected illegal dumps in Donegal, including one on the Derry border, over the past two years alone.
That’s according to the Minister of State for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael D’Arcy, who was recently asked to make a statement on the matter in the Seanad.
Independent Senator Victor Boylan specifically raised the problem of “alleged illegal dumping of toxic waste at a site in Bunnamayne, Co. Donegal,” referencing a townland that stretches much of the way from Bridgend to Killea, but without identifying the exact location.
Deputy D’Arcy said: “The Department is aware of waste management issues regarding the site at Bunnamayne, Bridgend and the response to these issues by Donegal County Council.
“The local authority has had extensive involvement with various statutory stakeholders, landowners and other parties in respect of these matters.
“Following investigations which involved the excavation of trial pits at the site, Donegal County Council issued a Section 55 notice in 2011 which covered a portion of the site in which waste material was found to have been deposited illegally. On foot of the Section 55 notice, this waste was removed from the site.”
Deputy D’Arcy told the Seanad further investigations were carried out in 2015 by DCC and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to see if there were any further waste deposits on the site or on adjoining lands.
He said work was ongoing to determine if there was any further risk to the environment and revealed that this had resulted in significant expenditure over the past two years.
“The Department has granted €104,000 of landfill remediation funding in 2017 in respect of two sites, including Bunnamayne, Bridgend.
“A total of €8,000 was used to complete the first stage risk assessment, or Tier 1 assessment, in 2017.
“In 2018 the Department granted €80,000 of funding to DCC under the landfill remediation programme for the completion of the second stage risk assessment, or Tier 2 assessment,” he said.
A spokesperson for DCC said: “The Tier 1 Report is currently being considered by DCC and will be forwarded to the Department and the EPA for comment. Following comments the Tier 2 Risk Assessment will be commissioned and the council will shortly be moving to appoint a consultant to carry out the Tier 2.”