All new house building in Saintfield has been frozen as the sewerage system is so overburdened that it is backing up into people’s toilets and gardens, a local councillor has said.
Local SDLP councillor Terry Andrews says the problem has been building up for several years on the Old Grand Jury Road.
“There have been major concerns for some time,” he said. “Residents have been complaining of toilets backing up and sewage overflowing into people’s properties. They are living in constant dread.
“Saintfield has been growing steadily because it is on the main arterial route for Belfast.
“A particular part of the problem is that on Jury Road the main sewerage pipe narrows down and creates a bottleneck which results in the sewage backing up.”
DUP councillor William Walker said the local sewage treatment works is not at capacity, the problem is with the pipe network.
“They have put in a special manhole with hinges on it so that when the pressure gets too high it (sewage) can be released on to the street instead of into people’s toilets. This means the children going into St Mary’s Primary School have to walk through the sewage to get to school. But this is no solution. We need a practical solution right away.”
NI Water confirmed there is “a capacity issue in the main trunk sewer” and all developments in Saintfield itself are on hold as a result.
Its business plan needs £1.7bn but has only has a budget of £990m.
Public spending cuts mean £55m of projects will not currently be delivered.
A new sewer network model is currently being developed to help find solutions and update the system at Saintfield.
Across the Province, NI Water can currently only address 19 required schemes – excluding Saintfield – out of a possible 70 which are needed.