A TOTAL of thirteen sewage treatment works in the Dungannon District are unable to cope with the large quantities of waste water being produced by the rapidly increasing population, it has been revealed.
The district’s sewage network is amongst the most overloaded in Northern Ireland, according to figures released last week at the Northern Ireland Assembly.
New developments at Augher, Aughnacloy, Ballygawley, Cabragh, Clogher, Donaghmore, Eglish, Fivemiletown, Moy, Newmills, Edencrannon and Cappagh were all denied connections to the local sewage works because of overloading fears, according to the figures which were relased by the NI Water Service.
Meanwhile, environment chairty, Friends of the Earth have revealed the shocking extent of water pollution in County Tyrone due to the proliferation of septic tanks, which are not the responsibility of the water service.
“Lough Neagh, the biggest lake in these islands is also one of the most polluted. We do know that septic tank run-off is a major contributor to nutrient enrichment or eutrophication”, said a spokesperson.
“This affects not just the animals and birds but the drinking water for large numbers of people in Northern Ireland. It is bizarre that sewage from septic tanks can easily enter Lough Neagh and yet we use Lough Neagh for drinking water.”
According to the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside 60 per cent of septic tank discharges in the Lough Neagh area are reaching surface waters, including many rivers popular with anglers.
NI Water has said it continues to invest in improving and maintaining wastewater treatment and is currently achieving its highest ever wastewater discharge compliance.
Currently, 130 waste water treatments sites require to be upgraded due to overloading.
“It is important to note that these works may be currently complying with their discharge consent but need to be upgraded due to increased risk to compliance or to provide additional capacity.”
“ Where NI Water does not recommend a connection to the system it is generally accompanied with a statement on alternatives such as the provision of a private treatment works by the developer, subject to NIEA approvals.”