Thursday, 4 March 2010

Odour problems at Kinnegar Sewage Plant

Using Environmental legislation, I have recently uncovered a appalling history of problems at Kinnegar Waste Water Treatment Works, Holywood, with over 70 odour emission incidents during 2009.

Kinnegar Sewage Plant is operated under contract by a Third Party Supplier on behalf of NI Water.  My request to NI Water sought to establish when the contract for the plant has been broken in relation to Odour Emission Limits.   NI Water has provided me with information under Environmental Legislation stating when Odour Emission Standards have fallen below a set standard and NI Water has penalised the contractor operating the plant by reducing the amount of money payable by NI Water.

The information provided details a systemic problem in relation to Odour Emissions from the Sewage Plant peaking during the summer. During 2009 serious odour problems occurred at the plant on no fewer than 74 occasions during 63 days. The months of July, August and September were particularly bad with over 50 odour emission incidents.

I accept that Waste Water needs to be processed and properly treated before being safely released into the sea but this must be done in a manner which does not harm the local environment or adversely impact on the daily lives to the local community.

Many people live and work near to Kinnegar Waste Water Treatment Works, and many more pass the plant by car or train, when commuting between North Down and Belfast. To repeatedly expose people, especially the residents of the area and those who work there daily, to disgusting sewage odours on such a regular basis is totally unacceptable and a complete disgrace.

During the last year I tolerated the odours when travelling by train past the plant but a few weeks ago I decided to investigate the cause and am shocked that this problem has been allowed to exist for such a long period of time with no resolution.

Local Kinnegar residents have expressed concerns for many years in relation to the sewage plant. The recent disclosures from NI Water prove that these concerns are entirely justified and warrant immediate action. It is entirely unacceptable that people living, working or even travelling past the sewage plant should have to tolerate such a stink.  Once in a blue moon might be explainable, but problems on over sixty days in a year is totally unacceptable.

Information such as the data I have recently obtained after submission of a formal request should not remain within NI Water but should instead by published on a regular basis on the internet in a spirit of transparency and openness. I therefore call upon NI Water to start publishing data concerning Odour Emission Incidents at Kinnegar Sewage Plant on their website at the end of each month.

I am currently arranging a meeting with NI Water to discuss the information recently supplied and my serious concerns in relation to the impact the Sewage Plant is having on the local environment, residents, workers and commuters. I have also asked NI Water to disclose how heavily the contractor operating Kinnegar Sewage Plant has been penalised by requesting the total amount that was deducted from the monthly payments due to the Contractor as a result of the Odour Emission Incidents during 2009.

In the meantime I publicly call upon Conor Murphy, Minister for Regional Development, to take immediate action to rectify this problem and ensure people can enjoy a proper quality of life and a decent working environment in the area around Kinnegar without such foul smells on a regular basis.



Note: NI Water state that, in relation to the Odour Emission incidents,  “the failure of contracted odour standards on any given day is not strictly a material breach, but rather entitles NI Water to make Performance Deductions, at contracted levels, for the lower standards of service provided on the day. These deductions range from 10% to 100% of the full value of the monthly payment due to the Contractor for wastewater services rendered, depending on the frequency of the events.”

4 March 2010

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