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£5m upgrade for Ballynahinch WwTW

30 April 2012 14:45

Declan Magee NI Water, Cllr Lyons, Cllr McAleenan, Jim Shannon MLA, David McNarry MLA, Cllr Burgess, Cllr Craig and Kieran Grant of NI Water pictured at the presentation
NI Water staff have met with local councillors and MLAs to brief them on the £5m package of improvements due to get underway at the end of May at Ballynahinch Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW).

NI Water Senior Project Manager, Kieran Grant told the local representatives that the existing WwTW at Millbridge was constructed in 1995 to serve a population equivalent (PE) of 6,000 but that a current catchment loading of up to 7,000 PE was resulting in the works being overloaded and struggling to meet the standards set by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

The £5m investment, he said, would more than double the capacity of the treatment works, enabling it to treat up to 14,500 PE:
“This important upgrade work will see the total modernisation of the existing plant with the construction of a new inlet works, new storm storage facilities, sludge treatment facilities and the inclusion of tertiary treatment to meet future NIEA standards and facilitate local requirements to at least 2035,” explained Mr Grant.

Explaining the logistics of how the project would be carried out, Mr Grant continued:

“The new structures will be constructed in phases within the existing site with the current treatment process remaining fully operational throughout the construction works. Obsolete parts of the old works will only be decommissioned and demolished once any new infrastructure has been brought on line.”

Mr Grant highlighted that a full analysis of the existing assets had been carried out on site and that some structures, which have been deemed fit for purpose, would be refurbished and reused to provide cost efficiencies.

Talking about the programme and the liaison with the local community, Mr Grant said that the contract had been awarded to BSG Civil Engineering who were due to start work towards the end of May 2012. In advance of that, he explained, NI Water would be carrying out letter drops to neighbouring properties to provide information on the planned works and that both NI Water and the contractor had already met with Ballynahinch Football Club to brief them on the programme of improvements.

“Minimising disruption throughout this 18-month construction period is a key objective for both NI Water and our contractors and we will take whatever practical steps possible to ensure that residents are not affected by the work,” said Kieran.

In this respect and referring to the landscaping around the existing works, Mr Grant explained that NI Water had employed a horticultural expert to carry out an assessment of the deteriorating trees screening the site. “Unfortunately,” he said, “this report indicates that the trees have become diseased and need to be removed. However, in recognition of the fact that the trees may help to muffle potential construction noise, NI Water has asked that the contractor endeavour to retain a number of the existing trees if practical until the new structures have been built and the old structures demolished. Replacement landscaping will then be undertaken in the earliest appropriate planting season following construction completion of the entire project in November 2013,” he explained.

Paul McSparran, project manager with BSG Civil Engineering told the meeting that a site traffic management plan would be put in place in liaison with Roads Service and the PSNI, and that neighbouring suppliers would be used as much as possible to boost the local economy.

In closing the meeting Mr Grant advised the elected representatives that he would endeavour to keep them updated on progress throughout the 18-month construction project at Ballynahinch.

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