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120,000 litres of sludge found at border

Valerie Robinson Southern Correspondent v.robinson@irishnews.com

FUEL launderers have dumped 120,000 litres of toxic sludge at a single junction on the Louth/Armagh border in just four months.

The latest dumping incident occurred yesterday when a trailer containing 35,000 litres of the highly-poisonous waste from the illegal diesel laundering industry was discovered at Junction 20 on the N1 dual carriageway, north of Dundalk town.

Louth County Council was informed that a trailer was loaded with cubes containing the waste, a by-product of the removal of a marker dye from diesel, which is then sold to motorists at knockdown rates.

The local authority said that it had drafted in a specialist contractor to remove the sludge from the Jones-borough/Carrickarnon junction yesterday afternoon.

The discovery comes after 40,000 litres of sludge were found in the same area in a curtain-sided lorry trailer in January while in early December gardaí and Louth County Council launched separate investigations after 45,000 litres of sludge were found near the junction.

Local authority officials have estimated that the bill for cleaning up dumped toxic sludge in the county reached €650,000 last year, compared to €780,000 during 2013.

Council staff and contractors dealt with 106 incidents of dumped sludge in 2014, one more than the previous year.

Gardaí believe that fuel launderers working in plants based in Northern Ireland are slipping across the border to dump the sludge, which has been linked to more than 40 of the north's rivers being polluted in the past three years.

Meanwhile, Louth Fianna Fail councillor Declan Breathnach yesterday claimed that launderers are mixing the waste in with agricultural slurry that is then being spread on land.

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