A chartered engineer whose company has developed what he says is a less disruptive way of dealing with pyrite in homes first encountered the problem in Offaly.
Tony O'Dowd from PJ Edwards and Company told a seminar organised by Engineers Ireland looking at solutions for pyrite affected buildings on Tuesday last about his first encounter with pyrite in a building in Edenderry.
"The floor had lifted up so badly it pushed the worktops in the kitchen up," he described. "It had pushed the walls outwards." At first Mr O'Dowd said he presumed the damage was due to settling, especially as Edenderry is close to the Bog of Allen. When he saw the rock he at first thought it was shale, with the damage caused by swelling due to water. However, he said once he examined further he knew he was probably dealing with pyrite. "I saw the glistening particles," he said. "I knew pyrite was known as 'fool's gold'."
Speaking to the Offaly Independent this week Mr O'Dowd said PJ Edwards, working with Earth Science, have come up with a new way of dealing with pyrite in homes. "The results to date have been more than promising," he said of the method that is still in its testing period. The solution is a combination of oxygen depletion and permeating the area with a special type of group.
"Without oxygen and without access to moisture pyrite can do nothing," Mr O'Dowd explained. As well as being less disruptive than traditional methods of dealing with pyrite, Mr O'Dowd said their solution should work out cheaper and at approxmiately three weeks take less time to carry out.
According to Mr O'Dowd a number of international experts are on board validating tests that are being carried out on the new proposal, with tests under high pressure to come next.