CONCERN has been expressed that a weed growing out of control at Dundrum Dam could lead to a major fish kill.
Local anglers fear the spread of the weed will have a “significant impact” on oxygen levels and that it must be removed as a matter of urgency.
They have raised the issue with Newcastle Councillor Patrick Clarke who said he had passed on their concerns to the NI Assembly Environment Minister Alex Attwood, the NI Environment Agency and Northern Ireland Water.
Councillor Clarke said: ” It is believed a sewerage spill into the dam at the Derinilla Lane area has exacerbated the growth of the aquatic weed which is starving the waterway of oxygen.
“It’s widely believed by anglers that as a result of sewage leaking into the water stream flowing from the Moneycarragh River into the dam that the dam is now unfishable.
“This water pollution is boosting the growth of the weed which has now completely covered the dam. Members of Dundrum Angling Club are unable to pursue their recreational sport in the dam and want to know what plans NI Water have to resolve the situation.”
Councillor Clarke said the anglers who have leased the dam from the Downshire Estate believe sewage is lying on the bed of the dam and that this needs to be removed before any restocking takes place.
He added: “Removing the sewage will require the dam to be drained and members of the angling club are simply not in a position to undertake such a task without any external help and assistance.
“Dundrum Angling Club has obtained a grant from Ulster Wildlife Trust to purchase jute mats to eradicate the weed which would need to be removed before these could be laid.”
Councillor Clarke said anglers require the assistance of NI Water to remove the weed or some form of help to employ experts to complete the task of removing it before the end of September… otherwise the grant secured from the Ulster Wildlife Trust will be lost.”
“The pollution incident on 14 August was as a result of a large branch being dumped in the sewer resulting in a blockage. NI Water would ask the public to help us with the task of keeping our drains and sewers in good condition by not using them to dispose of unwanted items. Other items which can cause blockages include sanitary items, baby wipes, builder’s rubble and grease, oil and fat. Further information on our ‘Bag it & Bin it’ campaign can be found on our website, www.niwater.com.”