Major Works Taking Place At Ballyhornan Waste Water Treatment Works
FOLLOWING concerns from local residents at Ballyhoran over works ongoing to the local sewage system on the coastal zone facing Gunn’s Island. Down News asked NI Water for an explanation of the current development. An emergency outflow sewage pipe is being put in place to discharge effluent into the sea pending breakdowns of WWtW pupms and equipment onshore at Ballyhornan.
Residents had expressed concerns for health and for the environment and indicated that they had been given very short notice of that the works were to commence.
Down District Councillor Cadogan Enright visited the site of the works at Ballyhornan and commented: “While I welcome the improvements to this local WWtW I am overall disappointed that NI Water has not delivered on integrating all the smaller sewage systems of areas such as Ballyhornan, Coney Island etc into the upgraded Ardglass WWtW system under construction at the moment.
“This was a wonderful opportunity once and for all to ensure our sewage system was on a par with those in North Down and therefore able to ensure that our bathing beaches are in fact up to the highest water quality and blue flag standards – as in North Down.
“We still therefore have a long way to go and I welcome the news that NI Water has still a vision for delivering on this in its future strategic plans. But the finance must be found in goverment to support this development as it will ensure our waste water system meets EU directives, and that we can then enjoy a reputation of having excellent and safe beaches for our tourists and visitors.
“At the moment this is not a level playing field and more needs to be done to rectify this in support of our local South Down tourist industry. I have raised these issues fully in Down District Council and Council will be looking very closely at this issue over coming months.”
A spokesperson for NI water explained: “NI Water is undertaking a number of improvements in Ballyhornan as part of extensive investment to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure and increase the quality of effluent discharged to sea so that it meets the latest NI Environment Agency requirements.
“The most significant part of the investment in the Ballyhornan village is a new screening plant which is currently being constructed on a greenfield site off Killard Drive. The plant, which will provide preliminary treatment, is due to become operational around March 2014.
“The main civil construction works on the new facility have recently been completed allowing NI Water to resurface the private road leading up to the site. The plant will be fitted out with new mechanical and electrical equipment in the New Year.
“In addition to the screening plant, NI Water has carried out an extensive upgrade of the terminal pumping station at Rocks Road by installing additional larger, more efficient pumps along with new electrical controls. The emergency outfall from a second pumping station at Rocks Road has also recently been extended to the low water mark and new pipelines have been laid to link the newly upgraded pumping station at Rocks Road with the new screening plant at Killard Drive.”
NI Water has also confirmed that funding for the construction of a new wastewater treatment works in Ardglass has not been cut from the initial £2.5m granted for this project. The spokesperson added: “Indeed, NI Water has secured an additional £500,000 to enable the Seaview Sewage Pumping Station and its associated pipelines in Ardglass to be upgraded as part of the scheme.
“NI Water has made provision that the new Ardglass works will be constructed to allow future expansion if further funding is made available, and if it is determined that the most economical solution is to transfer effluent from the outlying villages and hamlets of Ballyhornan, Coney Island, Killough and Chapeltown.
Residents Express Concerns At Development
Local residents adjacent to the area where the pipe is being laid through the rocks said that they were concerned at at a number of issues, namely:
* the natural rock area being dug up to lay an outlet pipe into the bay beside Gunn’s Island.
* the outlet valve may sand up over the season as he thought the sand levels shifted considerably this causing a risk in blocking the outlet.
* the waste coming out of the oulet was in the vicinity of a fisherman’s stock creels and mooring ropes.
Down News further raised the issues with NI Water and the spokesperson added: “The route for the pipe was chosen to limit the amount of rock that needed to be excavated. Concrete backfill is required to give a permanent prevention against uplift that loose rocks would not provide. The top end of the outfall pipe will have rocks bedded in concrete to give it a more natural look.
“A tideflex valve will be fitted to the end of the outfall. This type of valve only opens with flow through it into the sea and can still seal and prevent back flow even if debris collects in it. The sand may shift but that will have to be monitored and assessed on an ongoing basis.
“An overflow pipe has always been a feature of this pumping station and present in this area. This overflow will only be utilized in emergency conditions. This overflow pipe has been extended in line with statutory body requirements ie. NIEA and FEPA.”