Political representatives call for action after South Antrim pollution incidents

Some of the dead fry found in the Three Mile Water. Picture courtesy of the Three Mile Water Conservation and Angling Association. INNT 41-816CON
Some of the dead fry found in the Three Mile Water. Picture courtesy of the Three Mile Water Conservation and Angling Association. INNT 41-816CON

Local political representatives have called for action to be taken to prevent further pollution incidents on the borough’s waterways.

The call was made by South Antrim MLAs Pam Cameron and David Ford following recent fish kills on the Ballymartin Water and Three Mile Water rivers.

The Three Mile Water was affected by a major pollution incident last Tuesday (September 29), which killed hundreds of fish. The incident came just weeks after more than 1,500 trout, salmon and dollaghan died after a pollutant was washed into the Ballymartin Water near Mallusk.

The Six Mile Water has also suffered from several pollution incidents and fish kills in recent years, with one of the most recent in October 2014 causing extensive destruction along a stretch of the waterway near Ballyclare.

Mrs Cameron, the deputy chair of the Stormont Environment Committee, has called for urgent action to be taken to prevent further incidents.

“On the back of all the fish kills that have occurred recently, we need to have an inquiry into the issue of river pollution. I have requested a meeting with the Environment Minister, and I don’t expect it to be too long before it takes place,” she said.

Mr Ford has called on the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to carry out a thorough investigation into the Three Mile Water fish kill.

“This is not the first time a fish kill has occurred in this area and we must get to the bottom of the matter. I am calling on the NIEA to complete a full and comprehensive report on the issue. Clearly something has gone amiss and it is about time we got to the bottom of it to protect the vibrant angling industry that relies on this river to make a living. I hope we do not experience another incident such as this in the near future, but without a proper strategy I am afraid it is likely,” the Alliance leader said.

Tests are still ongoing to establish the source of the Three Mile Water pollutant and its lasting effects on the river.

The pollutant quickly diluted and the incident affected a smaller area than first feared - something welcomed by the Three Mile Water Conservation and Angling Association.

Meanwhile, Glas-na-Bradan Conservation Association have called on the public to be vigilant and to report any suspected pollution cases. An incident at Camross Park, Rathcoole is currently being investigated by the NIEA.