North Down and East Belfast Alliance representatives have joined forces and are due to meet both Northern Ireland Water and the NI Environment Agency after the cause of pollution of the Tillysburn Stream was recently revealed. Pollution of the stream has resulted in malodours for local residents with Holywood householders regularly complaining about the awful smell.
After receiving reports of malodours from local people in Kinnegar and along the Belfast Road in Holywood late last year I immediately made contact with NI Water seeking answers as to the possible cause. This resulted in a site visit to the Kinnegar Waste Water Treatment works which are now operating correctly after the multi million pound investment I secured a number of years ago to end discharge of sewage into the Kinnegar Lagoons which had been causing a nuisance for decades.
During my site visit we did however also inspect Tillysburn Stream with malodours clearly evident. Tillysburn Stream is a stretch of water running from Tillysburn Roundabout to back of IKEA, Holywood Exchange and B&Q. As a result of this visit to Tillysburn Stream I made contact with Belfast Harbour Commissioners, who own the area in question but they were unfortunately unable to establish the root cause of the problem. I therefore referred the issue to the NI Environment Agency who have now responded stating:
There are a number of NI Water Combined Sewer Overflows which discharge into the Tillysburn Stream. Previous investigations have found that these CSOs discharge during wet weather and may be contributing to the malodours you refer to. NIW are currently working on the East Belfast Drainage Area Plan, this plan will identify NIW assets which require investment in order to improve and protect the environment for East Belfast. The Drainage Area Plan will include the CSOs discharging into the Tillysburn Stream. Delivery of the improvements will be dependent on NIW funding.
Discharging sewage into the Tillysburn Stream is not acceptable nor can it continue with residents wrongly forced to endure awful odours and local wildlife present along the Tillysburn Lagoons required to inhabit filthy dirty water. I therefore intend to use the meeting to press both NI Water and the NI Environment Agency for dates and commitments to end the pollution. Local people and wildlife should no longer have to endure the pollution forced upon them as a result of lack of investment in our sewage infrastructure.”
East Belfast Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle commented “We have already seen the benefits of investment made in our sewage and waste water network across East Belfast but much more is needed to bring Belfast up to the standards required to ensure pollution incidents are minimised and our rivers and streams remain clean and places where wildlife can flourish. I look forward to meeting the NI Water and NIEA officials and will be doing all I can to ensure adequate and prompt investment in our infrastructure”.