Dundrum River At Centre Of NI Water Discharge Row

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Dundrum Village Chairman Speaks Out. Mr Clarke said, “The NI Water proposal is seriously flawed. “I an deeply concerned that the local community has not been fully consulted on this stretch of proposed underground pipeline from Dundrum Wastewater Works to the Moneycarragh River currently submittted by NI Water to Planning Service. “The first indication that local residents were made aware of the proposed pipleline was an advert in a local paper by NI Water. Serious questions need to be answered as to why NI Water needs to run a pipeline  to the river to pump treated strorm water from the treatment works. There is no guarantee that after containing the sewage at its treatment works that the sewage will not be dumped into the river should the pipeline be approved by Planning Service.” [caption id="attachment_21369" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="Patrick Clarke, Chairman of the Dundrum Village Association, concerned about an NI Water development that may affect the Moneycarragh River."][/caption] Mr Clarke has written to the Environment Minister,  South Down MP Margaret Ritchie, the head of the Planning Service, and the NIEA expressing the wide public concern. Anglers Worried Speaking from the pristine banks of the Moneycarragh River, local angling enthusiasts were appalled at the thought of any discharges going into the river. Martin Thomson said, “This is a spate river and any effluents discharged into the river will effect the stock directly. If the river does not flush there will be a build up of these substances which will harm the sensitive fish stock of salmon and sea trout. “NI Water have quoted up to 10 discharges per year could happen. The prospects do not look good at all for the future of this river which has provided a source of angling for decades to local people and tourists alike. “Our club in Dundrum is a mixed club and we all get on very well. The Moneycarragh is a natural asset on our doorstep at the foot of the Mournes. This would be a terrible loss to our community if it was ruined. We have seem what pollution has done in other areas. Also, there are farmers whose cattle and sheep drink from the river. They will also be badly affected by this.” Former Fisheries Conservancy Board retired bailiff Nikki McVery also was concerned about the NI Water proposals. He said, “I have many years experience with the FCB working with environmental issues and pollution and the idea to allowing a discharge into a prime spate river which has a good head of game fish is just nonsensical. “I am a keen angler and do not believe that polluting this river with discharges will not have any effect on the fish population. On the contrary, it is introducing a great deal of risk into the equation.Game fish (trout and salmom) stocks are sensitive to even slight pollution. This will have to be seriously looked at. We just can’t allow this to happen as a precedent. Other rivers could be affected too in the longer term.” [caption id="attachment_21371" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Angler Martin Thomson, Dundrum Village Committee chairman Patrick Clarke, and retired FCB bailiff Nikkie McVery by the Moneycarragh River in Dundrum."][/caption]

NI Water Responds To Criticisms
A spokesperson for NI Water said in relation to the disposal of storm water, “The requirement to change the stormwater discharge point is a condition specified by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). “The previous works upgrade was permitted to proceed to allow the works upgrade to be carried out as early as possible to improve the works effluent standard with a longer term condition that the stormwater discharge point be relocated in a future phase.” “The stormwater discharge location was specified by NIEA based on their assessment in terms of a suitable discharge location. They have also set limits on the number of permissible spill events per year at the discharge location. “The inlet flow to the Dundrum Wastewater Treatment Works is from a combined system; the same pipelines carry both foul (sewage) and stormwater (rainwater) flows. In dry conditions, the foul flow passes through and is treated by the works process. In storm conditions, any excess flow is screened and passes to a storm holding tank where the excess flow is stored for return through the normal works process when flows subside. “The storm discharge only occurs when the storage tank volume is exceeded and the tank overflows. At this stage the overflow is highly diluted and it is this dilute liquid which would be pumped to the discharge location. All discharge conditions are set and agreed with NIEA. “A Full Planning Application for the proposed work has been submitted and the proposed scheme is currently going through the planning process. This includes advertising the scheme in the local press and allows queries to be raised.” ]]>

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