Contaminated land has been found to affect 16 homes on the Craig Y Don estate in Amlwch on the Isle of Anglesey. Investigations last year found high concentrations of arsenic and lead underneath the properties which could pose a risk to human health.
Craig Y Don was built in the 1950s on the former Gwaith Hills metal smelter works, which operated between 1786 and 1897, before becoming a chemical works. When copper mining ceased the site became a Fertilizer Factory known as “Gwaith Hills” around 1889.
The heavy metals are the same as those found within the ore naturally found within the mountain.
The estate includes 112 residential properties, both private dwellings and homes owned and leased to tenants by Anglesey County Council.
After extensive debate about who was to pay for the clean up, the Welsh Government has committed to fund 60% of the costs, with Anglesey County Council covering the remainder.
Remediation costs for contaminated land usually fall to the owner or occupier of the property, in cases where the original polluter no longer exists.
However, given a number of distinguishing factors at Craig Y Don, it was felt appropriate for the Welsh Government to step in to provide financial support for the remediation work.
Since the discovery of contamination from a land survey in 2017, it has been a challenging period for the residents of Craig y Don, not knowing to what extent the pollution could affect their property and gardens.
Remediation will be scheduled early in 2019.