Cancer-causing chemicals and tear gas agent in dump

A photo taken by the NIEA during a site investigation.
A photo taken by the NIEA during a site investigation.

A range of cancer-causing poisons, heavy metals, pesticides, tarry and coal wastes and a compound that was used to make tear gas during the First World War have been discovered buried in the huge illegal dump at Mobuoy Road, the Sentinel can reveal, as a disastrous fish kill focuses attention on the importance of protecting the Faughan.

Contaminants identified in the dump, perched immediately above the river, upon which Londonderry depends for 60 per cent of its annual drinking and utility water needs, include a range of heavy metals.

Arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel and mercury are all present, as are the major ions aluminium, iron, manganese and sodium.

Anions found in the dump include nitrates, nitrogens, sulphates, chloride and cyanide.

Poly-aromatic hydrocarbons - the by-product of burnt carbons like coal and tar such as napthalene - are in there. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, the latter used to make tear gas during World War One, have also been identified.

The various chemicals, some naturally occurring, others man-made, have all been monitored by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and conveyed to the Campsie Waste Stakeholder group monitoring the Mobuoy Road site.