Contaminated soil in South Park no longer poses any risk to human health a new report has confirmed, although a local councillor said it should not have “taken eight years to come up with this analysis”.
In a new, written, report, by City Hall, Galway City Council management confirmed that detailed re-examination and soil retesting shows there is now no risk to human health from the contaminated soil and that there is no requirement to remediate the site.
The report followed a motion tabled by Independent city councillor Catherine Connolly last week. City Hall is now applying to the Environmental Protection Agency for a certification of authorisation for the site.
While Cllr Connolly welcomed the report, she said it should not have taken nearly a decade to produce.
“It is unbelievable that for eight years,” she said, “councillors were informed that a master-plan for the use of South Park could not go ahead because of the contaminated soil. City management will have to prioritise the development and publication of such a masterplan. I will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure no further delay in publishing the plan.”
The contamination in the soil at South Park was discovered in 2006 and reports that year and in 2007 confirmed the contaminated soil, which including high concentrates of lead, posed a health risk and that remediation works were essential. Since then, use of the park to the public and sporting clubs has been limited, owing to the inherent health and safety risks.
Consultants reports, which Cllr Connolly said “have cost a substantial amount of tax-payers money” were produced in order to address the problem.
The proposed and preferred consultants’ remediation solution over the years was to bring in top soil to cover the park. However this caused great anxiety to the residents who feared it would lead to more serious flooding in an area already prone to flooding.
In 2010, following another question submitted by Cllr Connolly, City Hall provided a detailed and costed plan for remediation works and also a very specific time frame for their completion and roll out of a masterplan in 2013.