Inspection taking place in Mallusk Industrial Estate

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

Following on from a spate of recent fish kills, a chemical audit is underway at a local industrial estate to check for potential pollution risks.

The programme, which commenced recently at the Mallusk Industrial Estate will include a visit to all premises at the site

The auditors will compile an up-to-date inventory of all hazardous materials and processes that take place within the estate.

A spokesperson from the Department of the Environment said: “NIEA has gathered similar data before and already has detailed pollution risk plans for Mallusk Industrial Estate, but a key aim of the current work programme is to ensure these plans remain fully up-to-date.

“The work is a continuation of an intensive programme of pollution prevention work in the area, which has been ongoing for some years and included 150 site visits carried out by NIEA last year. Any problems found during those 150 NIEA visits were addressed with the site owners.”

If potential risks are found, the Environment Agency will work with the site owners, where possible, to remove the risks.

The spokesperson added: “The precise timescale for site owners to resolve a problem will depend on the exact issues involved, as it will obviously require a reasonable amount of time to be given for any necessary remedial work.”

Environment Minister, Mark, H Durkan has given the project his full support.

“Following a fish kill downstream of Mallusk in August 2015 I met on-site with local anglers and politicians to hear their concerns at first hand. I gave the anglers a personal assurance that my department would redouble its pollution prevention work programme in the Mallusk area, particularly focussing on Mallusk Industrial Estate as this is the area of potentially greatest pollution risk in the catchment. The work being carried out in Mallusk by my NIEA officials is the result of the commitment I gave to local anglers, and has my full support,” he said.

A number of rivers in Newtownabbey have been affected by pollution incidents in recent months. Hundreds of fish died in the Three Mile Water in September and the Six Mile Water in August.

Jim Gregg, Acting Chair of the Six Mile Water Trust, has welcomed the decision to conduct the audit.

“Following the recent pollution incidents on the Six Mile catchment and Three Mile Water, The SMWT welcome the announcement that the NIEA have instigated a major audit of premises in the Mallusk area,” he said.