Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan has confirmed that the choice between containing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste illegally dumped at Mobuoy Road and digging it out, is an £80m question.
Capping the illegal dump, managing gas emissions and protecing the Faughan using “hydraulic barriers” will cost £20m, he says.
But digging all of the waste out and getting rid of it, by contrast, will cost at least £100m.
Answering a query from Green Party MLA Steven Agnew, Mr Durkan, revealed his Department is considering the options.
“These options are; Excavation and disposal; Containment using a capping system incorporating gas management and hydraulic barriers and controls; and On-site treatment that may involve one or more treatments such as physical segregation and recycling, composting, recovery, solidification/stabilisation,” said the Minister.
He revealed the most expensive option is excavation and disposal.
“These options will be subject to detailed evaluation and integrated into a remediation strategy once the risk assessment to protect the River Faughan is completed over the coming months.
“At this stage, best case and worst case cost estimates have been provided for each remediation option. The minimum estimated costs reflect those for the best case scenario where the remediation option is containment; these costs are in the region of £20 Million.
“The maximum estimated costs reflect those for the worst case scenario where the remediation option is to excavate and dispose of the waste, these costs are in excess of £100 Million.
“It is important to note that these remediation options need to be further assessed. My Department will be refining the cost estimates with a fully costed cleanup strategy developed over the coming months.
“The key priority of this strategy for my Department is to protect the environment,” he explained.