|Cllr Muir at Kinnegar Lagoons|
I have been working relentlessly to end the problem and last year secured investment in the region of £100,000 to identify the source of the problem. It is expected that the required solution will cost up to £3million.
I recently met with senior officials from NI Water who were able to tell me that on the basis of an interim report a solution is in sight which will involve sewage overflowing into a large tank rather than into the scenic Kinnegar lagoons. It would then be discharged into Belfast Lough in a controlled manner in full compliance with relevant environmental standards.
I understand that the proposed solution will be given the green light once the final report is received in the next few weeks and approval is given from relevant key people in NI Water. As soon as approval is given planning and implementation of the solution will take place. It is forecast that planning could take 6-8months whilst implementation could also take the same amount of time.
Whilst I am disappointed that it may take so long to implement a solution I commend NI Water for the work undertaken to date which included an extensive survey involving advanced computer modelling. NI Water seem keen to plug the problem and also intend to investigate a way to repair the damage done to the Lagoons to ensure they are returned to their sewage free state.
I do however call upon NI Water to explore all avenues possible to ensure the sewage smell and pollution is banished for good. It is unacceptable that we will have to endure another smelly summer with wildlife and the environment generally at continued risk as a result of this pollution. People working and living nearby should no longer have to put up with such a pong with some nearby workers recently sick as a result of the smell.
Whilst NI Water are now regularly cleaning pipes in the area to stop the build up of debris this will merely reduce the problem not eliminate it. I am delighted to be able to report that a solution is in the pipeline as a result of my efforts but want to see the problem plugged as quick as possible.