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Downpatrick Sewer System To Get £2.6million Boost From DRD
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REGIONAL Development Minister Danny Kennedy has announced that NI Water will be starting essential improvements to the sewerage infrastructure in Downpatrick.

Work will begin in the Market Street and Hunters Mill areas of the town in November 2013. Some temporary disruption is expected in Downpatrick.

These essential improvement schemes represent a total investment of approximately £2.6million and will continue until spring 2015.

Downpatrick's Lower Market Street traders may eventually be free from occasional flooding if the proposed sewerage measures by the DRD are effective .

Downpatrick’s Lower Market Street traders may eventually be free from occasional flooding if the proposed sewerage measures by the DRD are effective .

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: “These improvement schemes are good news for the local area as they will reduce the risk of out-osewer flooding, meet the needs of future development in the area and will help meet Northern Ireland Environment Agency Standards.”

Sara Venning interim Chief Executive, NI Water, added: “The first phase of the Market Street Pumping Station Project was completed in 2010 in advance of the Environmental Improvement Scheme carried out by Down District Council. This involved the installation of a trunk sewer between the existing and proposed pumping station plus associated works. We are now pleased to announce the second phase of the scheme, which represents an investment of approximately £1.6million.

“The second improvement project at Hunter’s Mill will run alongside the Market Street scheme and represents an investment of approximately £1million. Both schemes will greatly improve the sewerage infrastructure in the area and improve water quality in local watercourses.”

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Commitments Given On Downpatrick Sewage Investment Now Being Delivered  Upon Says Ritchie

Welcoming the news about the sewer investment in Downpatrick, South Down MP Marageret Ritchie said: “I have been pursuing the Minster for Regional Development and NI Water on the delivery of this £2.6 million sewage infrastructure project in Downpatrick town centre.

“Back in July 2013, after the flooding event in Market Street, the Minster for Regional Development gave me an undertaking that work on the new pumping station and associated infrastructure would begin at the earliest possible opportunity. I very much welcome the fact that we now have the start date of November 2013.

“I look forward to the planned improvements that this work will bring and the reduction in flooding risk to the centre of Downpatrick.   I will continue to monitor the progress of this scheme. I welcome the assurances by NI Water that they will co-operate fully with local businesses and keep them informed of developments as the project progresses.”

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Sinn Féin Welcome £2.6 Million for Downpatrick Sewer Improvements

South Down MLA Chris Hazzard  said he was delighted to learn that NIWater have announced a £2.6million improvements scheme for sewerage infrastructure is in Downpatrick.

Mr Hazzard added:“This scheme is essential for the future development of Downpatrick and the wider area. For some time now Downpatrick has been dogged by continuing sewerage related problems. In the last six months alone I and my colleagues have met on numerous occasions to discuss our concerns directly with NIWater.

“I am pleased that officials seem to have grasped the importance of what we’ve be shouting about for so long. I pay tribute to NIWater for their commitment to working alongside us over the last period and in now delivering on what is a substantial and much needed investment for Down.

“This investment will reduce the risk of sewer flooding, which has already occurred twice this year and we are not even into the winter period yet.  I further believe that this investment meets the needs of the future development of this part of Downpatrick but more work and investment is needed in order to deal with the wide range of issues that affect the area in terms of our water and sewerage system.”

Mr Hazzard added that he would be writing to the Minister for Regional Development to request that the procurement process or the impending works is used as an opportunity to provide employment to local firms.

“The Executive have signed up to a Programme for Government commitment to adhere to social clauses. However, the onus is very much on the respective Department to ensure that when contracting for major public works, local companies are given maximum opportunity and assistance to avail of the contracts in order to generate local employment. I will be raising this matter with the Minister and pressing him to ensure that social clauses and local job opportunities are a key objective for his Department when assigning a contractor.”

Councillor Éamonn Mac Con Midhe said that the Hunter’s Mill project has been on the table for quite some time and he was relieved to see finance being made available to now deliver on it.

He said: “In the Hunters Mill area the sewerage system is combined, carrying both sewerage and rainwater flows, which in periods of wet weather often leads to overflows at the plank drain in Thomas Russell Park. NIEA had deemed the overflow unacceptable some time ago so NIWater have been working towards this project which will see the installation of an underground holding tank feeding into the Downpatrick wastewater treatment plant.  This project will complement the works already completed at Market Street Pump station 3years ago and will greatly improve the sewerage infrastructure in the area and water quality in local watercourses.”

Councillor Liam Johnston added: “It is important that NIWater consult with local residents, particularly those in Thomas Russell Park to minimise the inconvenience during the time of construction; and that any associated traffic and pedestrian restrictions required, are widely advertised to allow for ease of traffic flow through the town.

“NIWater should engage now with local residents, businesses, Council and Roads Service to ensure that plans are put in place, as this work will be substantial and will undoubtedly lead to some roads closures and disruption to business in the town centre.”

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The improvements at Market Street will involve the following:

*   Construction of a new pumping station/storm retention tank in an area of the car park behind the Grove Shopping Centre.
*   Laying of a new foul pumping main from the new pumping station to Russells Park Pumping Station (located in Dunleath Park).
*   Laying of a new storm pumping main to the River Quoile (via the car park access road, through the Down Historical Railway grounds and across the fields to the river).
*   Final sewer upgrades and connections in Market Street to route flows to the new pumping station.
*   Demolition of the existing Market Street pumping station.

The Hunters Mill Project, which will also get underway in November, will provide extra stormwater storage, particularly during periods of heavy rainfall and will reduce the risk of out of sewer flooding in the area.

The scheme will provide the following improvements:

*   Construction of a new stormwater storage tank in the existing open ground near Thomas Russell Park.
*   Laying of new sewers in the open ground between Hunters Mill and Thomas Russell Park.
*   Provision of a new screened overflow.
*   Sewer upgrades in Stream Street.

A DRD spokesperson added: “During construction a temporary construction road will be constructed via the playing fields in order to minimise any inconvenience to the residents of Thomas Russell Park.

“There will be associated traffic and pedestrian restrictions required to allow the works to be completed in a safe environment. This will include lane and road closures in the area at certain times. However, signage will be in place and the public will be made aware in advance of any restrictions.

“As with all work of this nature, there will be an element of disruption and NI Water would like to thank the public and local businesses in advance for their patience and cooperation, and assure them that we will do everything we can to complete the work as quickly as possible with minimum disruption.

Customer queries regarding this work should be directed to Waterline on 08457 440088.