Odour problems return at estate in Downpatrick

Odour problems return at estate in Downpatrick

6 December 2017

NORTHERN Ireland Water has admitted it is aware of problems with a noxious odour which sometimes engulfs homes at the Ardmeen Green estate in Downpatrick.

The smell is linked to a pipeline which pumps sewage from nearby Ballyalton to a treatment plant at the Belfast Road. The sewage is treated with chemicals before it is pumped, but residents still report issues with a bad odour.

The issue was raised with senior NI Water officials by councillor Gareth Sharvin during a recent meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council.

He expressed concern that with work on new homes continuing at the Ballyalton area, this could place increased pressure on the mains sewer which runs past Ardmeen Green and lead to further odour problems.

“There is a problem, one which people who live at this part of the town want to see addressed. It is important they hear what steps are being taken to cure this issue,” he added.

NI Water’s Keith Henderson confirmed there is a problem in the Ardmeen Green area and that the organisation is aware of it, conceding the odour is an issue for residents.

“We control the odour with a chemical which is added to the sewage at Ballyalton before it is pumped to Downpatrick. This is an expensive chemical which costs around £4,000 per cubic tonne,” he explained. “We probably use two cubic tonnes per month.

“The smell issue is weather dependent. If we have wet or cold weather the odours generally speaking are not as bad as they are in the summer when we have to dose at a higher rate and for longer periods of time. I want to have this area checked every day to make sure the chemical dosing equipment is working and make sure the chemical is restocked.”

Mr Henderson said while NI Water is very much aware of the issue at Ardmeen Green, the organisation is in control of it, admitting there are occasions when the equipment may breakdown or the sewage is not being treated enough at the right time.

He added: “We do listen to the complaints we receive and investigate them. Hopefully what we are doing can improve the situation.”