THE first steps to clear the former gasworks site in O’Curry Street have begun.
This comes after Bord Gais confirmed its intention to apply to City Council to work on the land.
The state energy company, which purchased the lands from the Shannon Foynes Port Company, is looking to pump out the tar from deep underground the site, a process which is expected to take up to 2014.
According to plans due to be lodged with Limerick City Council, Bord Gais will demolish the remaining masonry wall beside O’Curry Street, rebuilding it with rendered blockwork.
Boundary improvement works will be made to the St James Mews boundary walls, and a new layer will go over the whole site.
Notably, Bord Gais stated: “The development will also include the remediation clean-up of the contaminated soil that lies within the footprint of the site.”
Warm water techniques will be used to ensure as much liquid tar as possible exits the site.
A waste licence will be required for this, and the company is currently seeking permission from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Bord Gais will also seek to relocate the existing ESB sub-station which lies on the derelict lands.
However, once this work has been completed, it is unclear yet what plans there are for the site, which has not been operational since the 1960s.
At a council meeting in January, Bord Gais executive Declan Bourke, who is leading the project, admitted no plans were in place once the site was cleared.
Councillors had expressed fears that when the site is eventually developed, liquid tar might still present a major danger.
But Mayor Jim Long welcomed the application, saying Bord Gais is investing millions of euro to make the site safe.
“Of course it is something we should welcome. I have always said that particular area is one which must be developed. We would support any development in the docklands area, including this one,” he told the Limerick Leader.
Bord Gais is expected to formally submit its application to Limerick City Council’s planning department in the next two weeks.