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// Work on cleaning up toxic Haulbowline site to begin
WORK will commence within the next 10 days to help make safe a toxic dump in Cork harbour.
Minister Simon Coveney confirmed to the Irish Examiner that Cork County Council staff will shortly move on to the site at Haulbowline island.
It is envisaged the local authority will construct retaining walls around the dump to prevent material seeping into the harbour during high tides.
The authorities here are liaising closely with the European Commission which has put significant pressure on the Government to clean up the site "and rightly so", according to the minister.
Mr Coveney recently managed to secure €40 million from the Cabinet for a two-year clean-up project.
He said the European Commission had advised the Government to model its work on a major remediation project carried out at an industrial site at Ravenscraig, near Motherwell in Scotland.
"That site was a number of times larger than the one in Haulbowline and was one of the largest industrial sites in Europe. It has now been made safe after six years of remediation," the minister said.
He said the Scottish site was recently visited by staff from the EPA and Cork County Council.
The minister said further test samples would be taken from the Haulbowline site and compared with ones previously taken in 2008 when the dump was discovered, close to the former Irish Ispat/Irish Steel site.
Samples taken then showed traces of Chromium 6, one of the deadliest carcinogens known to man.
Mr Coveney said the new samples will also be examined by a peer group of experts.
Members of the European Commission are to visit the site on November 23 to see for themselves what has to be done.
The minister said he had set up a special steering group to oversee the remediation of the site.
It includes representativesfrom the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Cork County Council, the Port of Cork, National Maritime College and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Jobs.
Mr Coveney said he was delighted Mary O'Leary, who is chairman of CHASE (Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment), had taken up an invitation to sit on the steering group.
"I want decisions (about what is to be done to the site) to be taken in a highly transparent way," he said, adding he was also pleased with the way the council was aiding the work.
By Sean O'Riordan
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 04, 2011
Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/work-on-cleaning-up-toxic-haulbowline-site-to-begin-172873.html#ixzz1cisCA4n9