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Frequently Asked Questions

What are we doing?

The works involve the remediation of an unauthorised landfill site at Timoole, Rathfeigh, Co. Meath. This project will involve excavating the waste material and impacted material below the waste and removal to Knockharley landfill. The void will then be replaced with clean material and graded to match existing contours.


Why are we doing this?

Landfills produce methane gas and leachate as the waste material degrades, typically it takes 30 to 50 years for the material to become inert. Removing the waste will prevent environmental pollution.


Who is doing the works?

Priority Construction Ltd. were appointed on the 24th October 2017 to undertake the remediation works, they have extensive experience working on landfill projects, both landfill construction and remediation of unauthorised sites, and have the expertise and resources to undertake the project. They were procured in line with national and European procurement rules.


How is it funded?

The Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) is funding the project.


Will the Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment monitor this project?

Yes, the project is subject to the protocols and procedures as prescribed by the DCCAE. A high level steering group has been established to ensure compliance with these protocols and procedures. Steering group members include DCCAE official, Director of Services for Environment, Project Manager, EPA and Project Manager from an existing remediation project and an representative from the Eastern Midlands Waste Region. An additional function of the Steering Group is to share knowledge with other personnel involved in similar projects.


Why has this project taken so long to remediate?

This site has been subjected to 2 High Court legal proceedings which have impacted greatly on the  project. These issues are almost closed off and we can progress to remediation stage.


Is this site still under investigation by authorities?

There were numerous agencies involved in the investigation and the site was investigated by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI). This case is currently dormant but any new evidence will be retained and reported to the NBCI for further consideration and possible prosecution.


What type of waste was found at the site?

A series of site investigations have been carried out to assess the waste that will be removed as part of the remediation of the unauthorised landfill at Timoole, Rathfeigh, Co. Meath.  The results of these surveys have categorised the waste at the site as: mixed organic & domestic waste; commercial waste; construction & demolition waste; and leachate.  These categories of waste are all non-toxic and the remediation process will see the waste removed to a licenced landfill for processing.

Other investigations at the site have indicated the presence of methane and carbon dioxide.  While both are non-toxic gases, the removal of the waste from the site will address the odour issues arising from the presence of these gases.

Further site investigations will be carried out to gather more information on the waste at the site, in advance of any remediation works commencing.


Supplementary note:

The most recent site investigation at the site in Timoole was carried out in October 2015.  A geophysical survey of the site was undertaken by specialist contractors on behalf of Meath County Council. 

The investigation consisted of Conductivity Mapping, 2D Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) and Seismic Refraction Profiling.

The objectives of the survey were to map the extent of the waste; to profile the thickness of the waste body and waste material type; and to map any possible leachate plumes outside of or below the waste body.


I’ve heard there is hospital waste in the waste body, is this true?

The site investigations undertaken in December 2015 included the excavation of 5 sizable trial pits to ascertain the depth of the waste body, these investigation did not highlight any hazardous waste. However, given that this is an unauthorised site and was not subject to any waste acceptance criteria we have assumed that there may be some small elements of hazardous waste and this has been included for in the tender documents. Any hazardous waste will be quarantined and removed by an authorised collector to an authorised hazardous waste facility.


Could a barrier be placed around the waste and let it remain where it is?

A number of remediation options were explored. To provide a barrier around the waste would be an extremely difficult and costly operation and there would be no guarantee that the environmental risk would be removed. In addition, there would be a requirement to monitor the waste for a significant period of time.


Has a lot of pollution already taken place?

There is no doubt the site is impacting negatively on the environment and removing the waste will remove this risk permanently. It is important to address the way pollution is taking place. This is not a sudden ‘shock’ loading pollution but a slow and steady pollution that could continue for an extended period of time (50 years+) so cumulatively would have a significant negative impact.


What are the challenges and constraints of the project?

This project presents a number of engineering challenges such as management of methane gas and leachate, protection of the stream running through the site, deep excavations and confined working area. The contractor will prepare method statement for all aspects of the works to ensure the works are undertaken safely, effectively and efficiently.


How long will it take?

It is estimated the works will be completed in 12-15 months.


When will works start?

It is estimated that works will commence at the end of October.

UPDATE: Contracts were signed on 24th October 2017.


When will waste removal start?

The Contractor has a number of enabling works to carry our prior to the removal of any waste, these include site compound set-up, installation of interceptor drains, surveys, etc. It is anticipated these works will take 10 weeks to complete.

UPDATE: Waste removal will commence on 9th January 2018


What hours will the contractor work?

The contractor will take advantages of daylight hours so will typically work 7am to 7pm in summer and 7.30am to 5pm in winter. There will be no works at weekends or public holidays unless absolutely necessary, any alternative working arrangements will be communicated to local stakeholders.


What can I expect during the works?

While this is a waste remediation project it is also a civil engineering construction project and locals can expect a some level of inconvenience but every effort will be made to reduce and mitigate against these (refer to below).


Will there be an odour?

Odour is created in the waste body as the organic material breaks down. In an engineered landfill this is reduced by the proper management of leachate and methane. In the Timoole landfill the odour is offensive, however, a number of mitigation measures will be deployed during the remediation including odour neutralising spray on the waste body and at the perimeter, keeping the working waste face to a minimum, covering the working face during out of office hours and removing the trucks immediately after filling.


Will it be noisy?

The noise levels will be typical of any construction site including the sound of heavy machinery; H&S reverse warning bleepers and traffic noise from trucks leaving and entering the site. A small portion of the works will involve driving sheet piles along the edge of the waste body, this sound will be a repetitive hammering sound. A certain amount of mitigation will be provided by the site fencing and construction noise will only occur during working hours. In relation to traffic noise all hauliers will be instructed to refrain from excessive revving and braking of HGVs.


What about traffic?

There will be considerable movement of HGV traffic in and out of the site as waste and leachates are removed and clean soil imported in. Management of these traffic movements will be a priority for the contractor and the HGVs must not exceed a 20kph speed limit. In order to reduce the inconvenience for school and work traffic in the morning HGVs may not use the cul-de-sac between the 8.30am and 9.00am. HGVs will not be permitted to go through Duleek village, all HGVs must go via the N2. A detailed Traffic Management Plan shall be put in place in advance of the waste removal.

UPDATE: HGV drivers were given a Health and Safety induction on 21st December 2017, this outlined the rules and regulations on and off site and any breach of these rules and regulations will be dealt with swiftly and severely by the contractor. Drivers were reminded to be courteous to other drivers using the haul route.


How much additional traffic will there be during the works?

HGVs will remove the waste to Knockharley, it is anticipated there will be 10 HGV trucks on this run, given Knockharley is in close proximity to the site it is expected there will be a quick turnaround time. Leachate will also be removed from site on a daily basis, it is expected up to 4 trucks movements per day but this may increase during episodes of heavy rainfall.  There will be other traffic movements incidental to the works such as fuel trucks, deliveries, etc.


Will the road network be damaged during the works?

It is anticipated there will be some level of degradation to the cul-de-sac. A pre-condition survey of the road will be undertaken at project commencement and minor repairs will take place during the contract, on completion of the works the road will be upgrading to the existing condition; this will be procured as a separate contract.


Will there be muck and waste on the road from the site?

No, all HGVs carrying waste will drive through a wheel wash before exiting the site, a road sweeper will also be deployed to keep the roads clean and trucks will be covered leaving the site.


Why is the contractor undertaking pre-condition surveys of the properties along the cul-de-sac and L-10021-10?

It is common practice on large scale civil engineering projects to undertake condition surveys of properties prior to the commencement of works, it is highly unlikely that the proposed works and traffic movements will result in any damage to properties; a pre-condition survey removes any ambiguity for both residents and contractor during the works. The survey will involve a visual inspection of the outside of the property (including any sheds or outbuildings associated with the property) and roadside boundary treatment. The survey will be carried out by structural engineers and a copy of the report will be given to the houseowner, a second survey will be undertaken on completion of the project. Generally the personnel undertaking the project will not require entry to your dwelling or shed/outbuilding, however, should the external observations identify significant cracking or damage that may carry through to the internal walls of the property they may request to examine the internal wall. This will be undertaken with the consent of the property owner and at a time convenient to the owner.


I can see a mist coming from the site, what is this?

One of the odour abatement measures includes an atomiser, this creates a fragrant mist which masks the odours. The mist is created using water and essential oils. 


I have a concern about an element of the works, who do I call?

A dedicated phone number and email is assigned to this project to allow site staff answer any queries promptly. The email address ( is now activated and can be accessed by a number of people involved in the project. The dedicated phone number (086-0251771) is now in place for the duration of the project..


How will I receive information about the project?

There will be a number of options available to residents to receive up to date information on the project, these include weekly email shots, website information, helpline number and information leaflets. A webpage has been created and this will provide up to date information on the project (  The project will have a dedicated Project Liaison Officer who will have a significant presence on site and will be available to meet residents during the works.


What about information I see on various Facebook and Twitter accounts?

Meath County Council has a specific, planned Public Relations & Communications Plan to ensure the current, correct information is received by the relevant stakeholders. Unsolicited information on Facebook or Twitter may have contradictory or misleading information. Please check for the most up-to-date information.


What happens to the waste?

Waste will be removed to Knockharley engineered landfill.


Why can’t the waste go to the Waste to Energy facilities in Duleek and Poolbeg?

There are a number of reasons why the waste will go to Knockharley. Firstly, the waste will be exempt from the Landfill Levy, saving €75/tonne on the gate fee. Secondly, this waste has a high moisture content and would not be suitable for Waste to Energy. During the procurement process a end destination was not specified for the waste the only requirement was that it must go to an authorised site, this allowed the tenderers to explore all the disposal options and in the tender returns all tenderers proposed removing the waste to landfill.  


Has Knockharley capacity to take the waste?

Yes, a new waste cell is available to take the waste. The existing conditions under the licence remain the same.


Who will supervise the works?

The consulting engineers, RPS, will have an Employer’s Representative on site for the majority of the works. 


What if there is an emergency on site?

On construction projects health and safety is always given top priority and a number of plans, procedures and policies are implemented to prevent or reduce the risk of an incident. On the Timoole Remediation project this has been taken a step further with an Emergency Preparedness Desktop Workshop undertaken collaboratively with a number of agencies including the Fire Service and Civil Defence. This workshop examined a number of hypothetical scenarios and the exercise provides an additional level of awareness, communication and readiness in the unlikely event of an incident or emergency on or off site.   


What will the site look like at the end?

On completion of the works the site will be returned to a green field site. The land will be graded to match the profiles of the lands adjacent to the site.


Will there be any benefit to the community from this project?

Yes, the biggest benefit will be to the local environment, the risk of long term environmental pollution will be removed. The community in the vicinity of Knockharley and Timoole will benefit from the Community Fund already in place for Knockharley landfill.


Can I visit the site?

Visitors are most welcome to visit the site by pre-arrangement. As the site is a construction site all visitors will need to undertake a short health and safety induction and wear appropriate Personal Protection Clothing and Equipment (PPCE)



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