The Tellus ground sampling survey, following on from last year’s airborne survey, has largely completed sampling in county Galway and will continue across counties Roscommon and neighbouring parts of Offaly, Westmeath and Longford until late autumn. Tellus, a national programme led by the Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) to examine the chemical and physical properties of the soils, rocks and water of Ireland, is set to collect approximately 4,000 soil and stream samples this year.
The samples will be analysed for a broad range of elements useful for assessing the health of the environment, agricultural nutrients and trace elements. The results will provide new data to advance the on-going radon risk mapping in the area, and information on regional variations in soil properties that can impact on soil fertility and grass yields which will be useful to the local agricultural community.
The sample collection is being carried out by OCAE Consultants Ltd., on behalf of the GSI. Working in pairs and carrying identification, the samplers will move in an eastwards direction across the country into the autumn months. Soil samples will be taken from the top 50cm of the ground and weigh approximately 1kg. Small bottles of stream water will also be collected, along with less than 500g of sediment from designated areas. Each sampling area will be approximately 4km2 apart.
Tellus will also help boost the local business community with three geochemical analysis contracts recently awarded to Loughrea-based laboratory, OMAC Laboratories Ltd. (trading as) ALS Loughrea. The Galway laboratory will be responsible for analysing the pH, loss-on-ignition (organic carbon) and multi-element analysis of samples collected by Tellus surveys across the country for the next four years.
Minister for Natural Resources, Séan Kyne TD, commented:
“This latest phase of the Tellus mapping project, funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, is about developing our understanding of Ireland’s geological make-up in order to better protect public health, increase agricultural productivity and allow for a greater understanding of our natural resources.
“I am delighted to see local company, ALS Loughrea, successfully secure three contracts to carry out geochemical analysis for the Tellus project and hope that the continued success of the ALS Loughrea will help create further jobs in the region, supporting the local economy.”
Geological Survey Ireland Director, Koen Verbruggen, added:
“The Tellus survey is an on-going national programme – which is due to have surveyed 50% of the country by the end of 2017. Ground and stream sampling activity in the upcoming months will follow-on from the work which the sampling teams carried out last year in Mayo and west Galway.
“We would like to thank stakeholders in advance for their co-operation around sampling on their land, as without their help this important geological activity would not be able to take place. If landowners or members of the public have any concerns, they can get in contact with the Tellus team through the Freephone Information Line on 1800 303 516.”
Results from previous phases of the Tellus Survey are available, free of charge, to view and download at www.tellus.ie, along with further information on current survey activity.