Alliance councillor urges Department of Infrastructure to tackle sewerage issues across Down with reference especially to Saintfield.
Rowallane Alliance councillor Patrick Brown has been in ongoing talks with Minister Mallon and the Department of Infrastructure around sewerage infrastructure across the District.
He said that whilst this is an NI-wide issue, it is of particular concern to constituents in Saintfield and the wider Rowallane area, adding that recent comments from NI Water’s Chairman Dr Len O’Hagan show the stark reality NI is facing with 99 areas throughout the province being unable to connect new housing and businesses to the sewerage system with the current infrastructure in place.
In recognising a shortfall of cash for infrastructure, he said that it is suggested that at least £2.5bn is required to prevent flooding and drainage issues and 70% of the water capacity problems.
Cllr. Brown said: “The Rowallane area is particularly vulnerable, with parts of Saintfield having Victorian era pipes and the last major work being carried out in the 1950s.
“This, coupled with the necessary new developments, has meant that the sewerage system has not been able to cope with the flow in Saintfield.
“As such there has been severe flooding, with raw sewage waste flowing through the streets.
“All future development has been halted by the planning department, stifling the community’s growth in a time where there is a demand for housing.”
Cllr. Brown understands that significant investment is required, and that funding is limited, but feels strongly that steps are taken to start the process.
As such, he has been in talks with the Department for Infrastructure asking them to share an outline of the action they will take to speed up the ongoing review of the NI water infrastructure, the timeframe in which they foresee funding becoming available, and a breakdown of how work will be prioritised across NI.
Cllr. Brown added: “Following lobbying, the Department has confirmed that NI Water has agreed to develop a new sewer network model for Saintfield, replace odour filters at several sewers in Killyleagh and upgrade Downpatrick Wastewater Treatment Works.
“I am aware that the financial constraints faced by NI Water are only made worse by the Covid-19 crisis.
“I want to thank Minister Mallon for her continued support in making representations to the Finance Minister and the Executive.
“I am glad pressure is being placed upon them to allocate resources to this pressing issue.
“The desperate need for action to be taken is essential, because a sub-standard sewerage system is a risk to residents’ health and is suffocating development going forward.”