Cill Dara Shinn Féin Poblachtach

Local community rages as dump that turned into a nightmare still burns

It is the sickening taste at the back of your throat that gets you; not immediately but hours after exposure to Kerdiffstown dump. Seventeen days after a detritus of wood and waste plastic ignited, the fire is still spewing smoke across the Kildare countryside.

The scale is apparent only on close inspection. Fire appliances and dumper trucks are dwarfed by a huge plume of smoke carrying a toxic mix that lingers in the mouth. There are now 100 people on the site near Naas. Even after a week in which firefighters from four counties worked non-stop to contain the fire, the smoke is still streaming through the torn fence that surrounds the dump.

Kildare County Council chief fire officer Celina Barrett said the fire was initially believed to have started spontaneously but now appears to be a surface fire that worked its way down.

She said it would take at least a week to extinguish. The council has been pumping carbon dioxide underground towards the fire, and is conducting a nitrogen risk assessment. The fire was first noticed on January 18 and the area in which the fire is hottest is at least 20 metres underground.

The dump, which opened 14 years ago, was closed by an injunction granted to the Environmental Protection Agency last year on foot of 200 complaints. On February 3 the agency confirmed the final cost of making the 55-acre dump safe will be in the region of €30 million.

The figure is contained in a report by consultants SKM Enviros commissioned by the EPA, which was completed last October and published on February 30. Neiphin Trading, the company that operated the dump, is in liquidation. In the first week of February the wind changed, dispersing the smoke over less densely populated areas, but last week it lingered over the heavily populated areas of Naas, Clane and Sallins.

“It is like sooty anthracite you used to burn years ago, mixed with everything else you can think of,” said local resident Ann Stapleton. “Last week was dreadful. The minute you came out in the morning you could taste it.”

She has four sons, all of whom have been sick over the last 10 days. One stayed at home from school with vomiting last week, as another did this week. Anne Marie Friel, who lives on the Dublin Road in Naas, said her children have also been ill.

“You could say it is the time of year but it was not the time of year last week when my daughter, who is asthmatic, went back on the inhaler after two years off it. My other daughter went back on it too,” she said. Clean Air Naas has been calling for years for the dump to be cleaned up.

Deirdre McGeever, whose husband Brian is chairman of the campaign, stressed that putting out the fire was only the beginning as, she said, leachate in which toxins mix with water are filtering into the nearby Morell river, a tributary of the Liffey. “We have the smell; Dublin is going to get the water pollution,” she said.

A report commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency, details of which were first made public last November, found levels of ammonia leaching into groundwater up to five times the maximum permitted by EU directives. This put the nearby Morrell river “at future risk of contamination”, the report said.

Bookmark and Share

Seja o primeiro a comentar

Kommentar veröffentlichen

"We of Republican Sinn Féin are the nucleus, which represents what Emmet represented,
the soul of Ireland,the prophetic shock minority, those who are neither purchased nor intimidated."

Republican Sinn Féin Kildare © 2008. Powered by Republican Sinn Féin: 223 Parnell Street, Dublin /// 229 Falls Road, Belfast .