HEALTH fears have risen over the rapid erosion of an old landfill site by the River Dee.
Urgent calls for action came over concerns that potentially hazardous waste could leak into the river.
High tides following flash floods have been blamed for the escalating erosion around the old Bettisfield Tip in Bagillt.
Parts of the footpath near the old Bettisfield Colliery have vanished, a year after Flintshire Council closed it.
Talks are now taking place about the erosion and works that may be done to tackle the problem.
“Things have got drastically worse,” said Bagillt town councillor Mike Reece.
“It won’t take long before the water creeps into the tip.”
Locally it is believed the landfill site, which closed 20 years ago, was a night time dumping ground for toxic waste.
Cllr Reece told the Leader: “They will say the stuff in there is not harmful, but there are people in the village who will tell you how lorries used to come in the night and men in overalls would be emptying stuff in there.”
But Veolia Environmental Services, which now owns the site, maintains only non-hazardous materials were disposed of at the site.
Bagillt resident Pat Bolton said: “The path has all gone so water comes right up to the fence and there’s big pieces breaking away.
“If it carries on whatever’s in the landfill site will leak into the river.
“There are vents all around the tip and I don’t know how long it will be until the water gets up into these because with the tide changes it’s pulling it away all the time.
“It’s spoilt the walk as you can’t use it anymore.”
Cllr Reece made a renewed call for urgent action.
“Something needs to be done before it’s too late,” he said.
The old landfill site, known locally as View Hill, is now owned by recycling and waste management company Veolia, which leases it to Flintshire Council. The Bettisfield Colliery site, which borders the old tip, is owned by the Environment Agency.
A spokesman for Environment Agency Wales said: “We are aware of local concerns relating to erosion of the bank near the Bagillt landfill site and last year conducted an assessment to better understand rates of erosion in this area.
“Our assessment showed the natural process of erosion has caused the bank to recede but there is no immediate risk of contamination from the landfill.
“We are closely monitoring the site and are working with the landfill owners to help manage the risk for the future.”
A spokesman for Veolila said: “We don’t own the land that is being affected by coastal erosion or the footpath and understand this land is owned by the Environment Agency.
“We can confirm the former landfill was not used to deposit hazardous waste.
“We have been speaking to the Environment Agency about the erosion and any work they may wish to carry out on their land to rectify the situation but we are still awaiting a definitive response regarding what action they propose to take.”
Neal Cockerton, Flintshire Council’s head of assets and transportation, said: “The Council is aware of natural coastal erosion occurring adjacent to the former Bagillt landfill site owned by Veolia.
"We are also aware that the Environment Agency is currently monitoring the rate of erosion at this location due to its proximity to the former landfill.
“The adjacent pathway was closed due to Health and Safety issues currently present at this location.”