CLARE COUNTY COUNCIL has launched a major investigation into the dumping of potentially hazardous asbestos in parts of the county.
The local authority said this morning that it has commissioned an external independent investigation after asbestos waste materials were found at 9 separate places, following a complaint from a member of the public last June.
A spokesperson for the council said it will be liaising with people who live near the affected sites to tell them about the works that are to take place to get rid of the asbestos.
Six of the asbestos sites are in Kilkee while 3 are in Kilrush. Some of the asbestos may be buried under the surface.
The council said that the asbestos appears to have been deposited “over an undetermined number of years” up to last June.
“All of the asbestos material investigated to date consists of broken pieces of asbestos cement water main,” a spokesperson for the council said. “It is considered that all of this material originated on Clare County Council water services mains replacement and mains repair works”.
Prolonged inhalation of asbestos can cause serious health problems. Asbestos has been blamed for some 120,000 deaths every year from diseases caused as a result of exposure to the building material.
The council said it is investigating why the material was not disposed off according to legal requirements.
The council said a specialist has been hired to give advice on how the asbestos can be safely removed from the sites and that precautions will be taken for workers who have to remove it.
“Clare County Council is conscious of the need to ensure that any work to remove the waste is undertaken in such a manner that ensures all risks are minimised,” the spokesperson said.
The Council is aware asbestos fibres can pose a risk to human health if inhaled. Therefore, the work will be carried out in a manner that ensures asbestos fibres are not realised. This includes air quality monitoring throughout the affected sites and their environs.