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State faces €1.5m asbestos dump bill

AN ILLEGAL dump which was found to contain large quantities of asbestos could cost €1.5m to clean up.

The dump -- discovered by ESB workers at Coolcower on the N22 road outside Macroom, Co Cork -- contains large quantities of construction debris and asbestos.

The ESB has insisted the material has nothing to do with the semi-state body and has vowed to trace whoever was responsible and to pursue them for the clean-up costs.

Given the quantity of concrete debris present, it is suspected the material was dumped at the site following the demolition or renovation of a large house or commercial premises.

The asbestos involved includes pipes, cladding and roof sheeting and is believed to date back to the 1950s or 60s.

ESB workers discovered the dump three months ago as they examined a site adjacent to the Carrigadrohid Reservoir.

Although the facility provides water for parts of Cork City, health officials say there is no indication that the asbestos came in contact with reservoir water or ground water.

They say it has been successfully sealed and poses no public health risk.

The site has been examined by ESB officials, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and Cork Co Council.

Experts are now supervising the clean-up of the site and the asbestos involved is being sealed in plastic and shipped to Germany for safe disposal.

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State agencies have declined to comment on the total clean-up cost. However, the Irish Independent understands that the cost of fully restoring the site could run to as much as €1.5m.

The ESB has vowed to pursue anyone identified as having dumped the material at the site for the full clean-up costs.

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