Health body engages environmental specialist to assess hospital site waste

Fri, Feb 3, 2012, 00:00

THE HEALTH Service Executive has engaged an environmental specialist to assess a cache of waste found during construction work next to a former hospital outside Wexford town.

Residents of Glenbrook Estate, located next to the site, have expressed concern that the waste – which is most likely decades old – could potentially have contaminated soil in the area. The material was found on the site of a community nursing unit that is under construction at Carricklawn, next to the current and former Wexford General Hospital buildings.

Wexford Borough Council town clerk Pat Collins said a complaint about “dangerous waste” at the site had been received and reported to the HSE and contractors working on the project and they had agreed to clean it up.

Eamonn Fortune, whose house backs on to the site, said he noticed the material after a number of trees between his home and the site were removed during landscaping work around the new nursing unit. He initially believed it was just bottles that had been dumped but that he found medical vials and shards of bone. “I would like the health implications examined because this could be medical waste,” Mr Fortune said. “I’m satisfied the glass will be removed but would like to see the soil tested for pollution and for the situation to be dealt with properly.”

The HSE said it had examined the area. “Following an inspection by a public health specialist, no evidence was found of clinical waste or a hazard in terms of public health safety. In consultation with the local authority, and the construction company, the HSE are making arrangements to remove the waste material to ensure safety.” The HSE said yesterday it had engaged an “environmental specialist” to further assess the material.