Mrs Long spoke to NIW Chief Executive Trevor Haslett and Director of Engineering Procurement Bill Gowdy to raise the issues of out-of-sewer flooding, which has affected several areas, including Ballyhackamore, Cregagh, Gilnahirk and Stormont, as well as the repeat flooding in Sydenham linked to the pumping station there.
She said NIW had informed her they were working on a plan of action in relation to Sydenham Pumping Station, which has continued to cause problems for local residents, most recently in April of this year.
“NIW has undertaken work at the station and they are continuing to do so as part of a £3.6 million refurbishment, which will see transformers replaced and renovation of the pumps. The pumping station has been manned 24 hours a day and that will continue until NIW are satisfied it is working effectively, assurances which I sought at a recent public meeting.
“In addition, they are expecting to receive a further report looking at sewer capacity in the vicinity and options for diverting flood water away from houses in an emergency situation. Across East Belfast, there is a need for significant investment in the drainage and sewerage infrastructure, in order that the Drainage Area Plan can be implemented to help address some of the repeat flooding.
“I have also written again to the Regional Development Minister to ensure funding is made for these schemes, due to their importance to the local area, and I will remain in regular contact with NIW to make certain they progress those plans.
“Despite the recent warm weather, it is vital we remain focused on the flooding many residents in East Belfast have suffered over the past number of years. The stress and worry caused by those events are still with people, as is the fear the flooding could return with any deluge.”
Naomi Long is pictured with NI Water officials Trevor Haslett and Bill Gowdy