MP demands action after more flooding

MP demands action after more flooding

7 August 2013

NORTHERN Ireland Water has been instructed to take immediate action to ensure businesses at Downpatrick’s Lower Market Street are not flooded again.

A torrential downpour swamped a dry cleaners on Monday of last week, prompting beleaguered traders in the area to demand an end to the problem.

They warned that persistent flooding problems are threatening to ruin their businesses and declared they have had enough of mopping up every time there’s heavy rain.

Gallons of contaminated storm water poured out of street drains into Traynor’s Executive Cleaners which has suffered persistent flooding problems for the past two decades.

NI Water said the incident was as a result of surface water overwhelming the drainage and sewer network, resulting in run-off into the dry cleaners.

Following a meeting between South Down MP Margaret Ritchie and Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy 48 hours after the incident, NI Water was told to ensure businesses at this part of Downpatrick do not suffer in future.

Miss Ritchie said Minister Kennedy instructed NI Water to specifically address a switch problem with pumps at the Lower Market Street pumping station.

The pumps initially failed to work and similar problems over recent months resulted a number of businesses flooding. The last major flooding at Lower Market Street was in April this year.

The South Down MP has also called for work on a £3m scheme which will result in an upgrade of storm drains and a new pumping station at this part of the town to start as early as possible.

She continued: “Minister Kennedy accepted the case I put forward. NI Water has been instructed to take immediate action to ensure that the pump switch is brought up to standard to ensure it does not fail again.

“In addition, the minister has directed that work on the new pumping station should begin at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Miss Ritchie said while she accepts assurances from NI Water that it has taken immediate action with regards to the pumping switch, she said the the priority now is the construction of the pumping station.

The MP added: “It’s vital that we correct this problem at its source. That requires that the proposed new pumping station is operational as soon as possible to ensure flooding in this area of Lower Market Street does not become a regular occurrence.