Border councils counting costs of diesel sludge

September 25, 2012

By Christine Keighery

Councils both North and South are facing mounting clean up costs as a result of the waste dumping epidemic which has gripped border counties in recent months.

Just a fortnight ago, the biggest single dump of toxic diesel sludge found in County Louth so far this year exceeded 20,000 litres, with nearly a third of it leaking into surrounding areas.

Around 22 International Bulk Containers, known as IBCs, and each containing 1,000 litres of highly toxic sludge were discovered at the side of the Armagh Road opposite the Carnbeg Hotel. A Louth council spokesperson said that around eight of the IBCs were leaking and this sludge had to be cleaned up before the containers were shipped to Germany for safe disposal.

Only last month, 16,000 litres of sludge were found at locations throughout the North and Mid-Louth within the space of a few days.

The latest find prompted calls from Louth Fianna Fail TD Seamus Kirk, for the price differential between agricultural and motor fuel to end.

He said the frequency of such dumping emphasised the need for a crackdown on the criminal practice, one proposal being that the duty on agricultural fuels and motor fuels be made equal, with a scheme to allow farmers to reclaim the extra costs incurred.

Mr Kirk believes such a move would deter criminals from purchasing agricultural fuel at a lower cost, laundering it and selling it on as motor fuel for a profit. He estimated that it would save the Irish exchequer €155 million a year.