Video: Drainage project could help prevent river pollution

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A major flood alleviation project being planned for Ballyclare could help prevent pollution incidents on the Sixmilewater river.

That is the hope of local anglers, who are backing plans by Northern Ireland Water for a Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUD) project in the area.

Billy Robinson, chairman of Ballynure Angling Club, is keen to see the implementation of a Sustainable Urban Drainage scheme in Ballyclare.

Billy Robinson, chairman of Ballynure Angling Club, is keen to see the implementation of a Sustainable Urban Drainage scheme in Ballyclare.

SUD systems are a natural approach to managing drainage in and around built up areas.

Ponds are used to collect surface water from sites, allowing natural processes to break down pollutants, rather than run-off going into the sewerage system or straight into a watercourse.

SUD drainage channels and detention basins (ponds) are already used in many parts of the UK and have recently been constructed as part of the new A8 dual carriageway development.

SUD systems slow down surface water run-off, reducing the risk of flooding, including sewer flooding, and preventing water pollution during periods of heavy rain.

“NI Water is currently developing a sewer network drainage model for the Ballyclare area. This model will be used to inform a storm water management needs and options study for the town and its Wastewater Treatment Works,” an NI Water spokesperson explained.

“The project is at an early stage and when the storm separation and Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUD) options are identified, they will be submitted for consideration in the project planning and prioritisation process for the PC15 funding period.”

Following a number of serious pollution incidents and fish kills on the Sixmilewater near Ballyclare in recent years, local anglers are keen to see the introduction of a SUD project.

Billy Robinson, chairman of Ballynure Angling Club, which has worked hard to improve the river environment over many years, is supportive of NI Water’s plans, saying the Sixmilewater currently acts as “a giant storm drain.”

“From our point of view it would potentially reduce the amount of pollution going into the river,” he told the Times.

“In flood conditions the sewage and the rain water mixes and the treatment plant can’t cope with the volume and the mix of sewage and rain water can end up overflowing into the river, so that’s the main benefit we would see as an angling club.”

Ballynure Angling Club, which currently has around 100 full members, is keen to recruit more junior members.

For more information, including details about membership availability, email billy.robinson@talktalk.net or johnarneill1945@gmail.com