Waste is now finally being removed from the a tip at Lockwood that has been smouldering since the summer.
But it looks like the operation to clear the estimated 11,000 tons of rotting waste at the former Hunter Tip site Lockwood could take months.
Four lorries shifted 100 tonnes from the Queens Mill Road site yesterday and, although Kirklees has yet to give a timescale for it all to be removed, at that rate it will take 110 days which would be around four months.
Kirklees Council has confirmed that a fire engine will need to be at the site every time any waste is removed.
In a statement the council says: “We need to move the waste first so we can get to the heart of the smouldering fire. Before any waste leaves the site it will be checked to make sure its not hazardous and if the waste is hot or smouldering we will extinguish it.
“The fire service will place a fire engine on site during the operations to make sure that any flare ups are quickly tackled. We estimate that there may be up to 11,000 tonnes of waste to be removed. This is the same as over 45,000 wheelie bins.”
A fire engine was at the site yesterday when the clear-up operations finally got underway.
It’s not yet clear where the waste will be taken or how much the operation is going to cost.
Kirklees added: “We have had to spend more time than we thought making sure we understand where all the water will go. To do this we have tracked where the water goes by using a special dye.
“This is important as we want to avoid water flowing into the river and to try to stop any water used controlling fires from flooding nearby roads. This is especially important as we head into winter where the water may freeze into ice.”
And they revealed they have had to remove sections of drainage pipe that had been blocked by wet concrete poured down the drains.
On a brighter note the council says that air quality is good at the tip, adding: “They are nowhere near the stage where we would be concerned for the health and safety of the public. The results of the air quality monitoring will be reviewed by Environmental Health daily.”
Kirklees council continues to pursue legal action against former site owner Sam Hunter and a hearing in Huddersfield County Court started in September but was adjourned. It is expected to return to the county court in January.
District Judge Claire Jackson said she did not have enough information to progress the case.
She added: “I need to get to the right answer. Whoever caused the problem are the people who should pay.”