It will be summer at the earliest before any major work gets under way to make safe a toxic waste dump in Cork harbour, city officials have said.
Deputy county manager Declan Daly yesterday issued a report to councillors on progress at the East Tip dump on Haulbowline island, which is adjacent to the former Irish Steel/Irish Ispat plant.
The existence of the dump was revealed by the Irish Examiner in June 2008. It contained a number of heavy metals and the highly carcinogenic Chromium 6.
The local authority is acting as agent for Marine Minister Simon Coveney, who has taken charge of the making the site safe.
Mr Coveney lodged a planning application for the clean-up with An Bord Pleanála on October 30.
Mr Daly said that planning application sought permission for the remediation of the site and its development as a public amenity area. He said the deadline for a decision on that application was April 24.
In addition, a waste licence application for the site was also lodged with the Environmental Protection Agency on November 14. That will be needed in case there is need to remove anything from the site.
It is not yet clear when a decision will be forthcoming from the EPA, although it is known that it will not precede the decision of An Bord Pleanála.
In the meantime, the council has sought tender applications for “the preparation of targeted intrusive investigation [checking for any remaining hazardous waste] and detailed quantitative risk analysis” at the dump, Mr Daly said.
This has to be undertaken as part of the detailed design of the remediation works.
Mr Daly issued his report following a request from Cobh-based Labour councillor Cathal Rasmussen. He said he was concerned at the time it was taking to address the issue.
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