Criminal gangs involved in fuel laundering have cost the taxpayer €4.3 million in recent years.
Figures obtained by the Dundalk Democrat show that the Louth County Council have spent over €4.3 million of taxpayers’ money from 2006 to April 2014 in clean-up costs of illegal fuel dumping.
Over 5,364 tonnes of sludge was dumped throughout Louth, mainly north of the county, since 2006.
The detailed figures clearly show the impact of dumping has on the public purse.
In 2006, €307k was spent cleaning the sludge,€155k in 2007, €200k in 2008, €349k in 2009 and €292k in 2010.
In most recent years, the level of dumping has been extremely high, resulting in an increase in clean-up costs.
In 2011, 1041 tonnes of diesel sludge was dumped, with a total bill of €1,050,000 million.
In 2012, €1,163,000 million was spent in the clean-up process.
From January to April of this year, the cleaning has cost the taxpayer €150,000.
The dumping of diesel sludge in the county is costing each local taxpayer a fortune with the local authority now spending an average of €14,000 euro a week cleaning up the mess left by criminals.
The costs of the cleaning includes the set-up of machinery to remove the waste.
The waste is then repackaged into new UN approved barrels and is transported and treated in a hazardous waste facility in Holland.
The sludge is the by-product of removing, or “washing”, the green dye from cheaper agricultural diesel.
The problem has spiralled to unprecedented levels over the past few years.
It is then sold on as more expensive road fuel with the gangs involved making a huge profit.
It is the Louth County Council’s view that a multi agency approach is required in dealing with this problem.
The council have highlighted the extent of the problem in Louth to a wide range of bodies.
These bodies include the Cross Border Fuel Enforcement Group, the Department of the Environment and Customs and Revenue.
The council has encouraged the general public to report any suspicious activities to the gardai or report matters to the council.