David Ford said: “I have put proposals to tackle this devastating problem to the Department of the Environment following the last major incident. These proposals were put to me by a local angler and would involve creating settlement ponds near Mallusk industrial estate that would capture and dilute pollutants before they reach the Ballymartin Water and Six Mile Water. I am encouraged that these plans are being considering by the Department; however, action needs to be taken urgently.
“Serious incidents regarding pollution are happening with depressing regularity in this area. Whilst robust action against polluters is welcome, our main concern is protecting water quality and fish in the rivers. Prosecution of offenders after the damage has been done is simply not enough. There are real problems when the courts fail to hand down meaningful penalties.”
Local Alliance Councillor Alan Lawther stated: “I am extremely upset about what appears to be a toxic chemical spill into the Ballymartin River. All animal life in the river seems to have been killed, and even the hardiest species like eels are dying. I was informed last night that the effects are spreading into the Six Mile River and fish as far down as Dunadry are dying. Just last March, there was a serious spill into the same river, and local people believe that much of the pollution come from firms operating in Mallusk.
“I am extremely worried about where these chemical go from here, as the Six Mile Water feeds into Lough Neagh, our major drinking water source. I hope that the Rivers Agency and Environment and Heritage Service will perform a rigorous investigation to get to those responsible and prosecute them.”