And that looks very much the case in Bray, as a decades-old dump now exposed by coastal erosion is spilling toxic waste into the sea.
The site of the old Bray Urban Council dump is on the north side of the harbour – actually under the jurisdiction of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – where an environmental report last December assessed that there was more than 104,000 cubic metres of waste. Including in this were broken asbestos tiles, with excessive levels of ammoniacal nitrogen, potassium and manganese recorded in the groundwater.
According to an article published in The Irish Times this morning, the report – conducted by environmental consultants Fehily Timoney for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – concluded that the 8.7m-deep landfill had become exposed for 200m along the northern end of the site, and that its content were spilling onto the beach before being washed out to sea.
The problem had first been recorded back in September 2005, when the environmental group Coastwatch reported that the dump – which Wicklow County Council then estimated at 48,000 cubic metres in volume – had begun falling into the sea.