Sewer network in Culmore Road area of Derry working at full capacity

NI Water asks council planners not to give the go-ahead for any further connections to the system

Sewer network in Culmore Road area of Derry working at full capacity

The site at 64 Culmore Road where the plans have been put forward for the new properties.

The sewer network for the Culmore Road area of Derry is at full capacity, it can be revealed today.

The Derry News has learned that it has become such an issue that Northern Ireland Water (NI Water) has recommended that no further connections be made to the network until the necessary work has been carried out to increase the capacity.

This will impact on any planning applications for new properties in the Culmore area.

Details of the issues at Culmore Road have emerged after plans were put forward to build 18 new properties on a site at 64 Culmore Road.

At present, the site is home to one property, which is called Derrianna.

However, the owners of the site want to knock this house down and build 19 new properties on the land.

The plans for the Culmore Road site were lodged with Derry City and Strabane District Council's planning department in November 2020.

As part of the planning process, the council contact a range of agencies to ask for their input on the proposals.

One of the agencies contacted was NI Water.

In their response to the council about the plans for 64 Culmore Road, Robert O’Hare, from Ni Water's Developer Services, said they would have issues with the sewage system in the area.

"There is a 225mm diameter public foul sewer which is located on Culmore Road, that is adjacent and near the boundary of the proposed development site," Mr O'Hare wrote.

"However, due to the sewer network being at capacity in the Culmore catchment and sewer flows spilling from CSOs (Combined Sewer Overflows) into the environment, NI Water is recommending to council planners that no further connections should be made to this network or a condition should be incorporated which requires an alternative drainage/ treatment solution for the proposed site."

It is understood that the owners of the site at 64 Culmore Road are now in discussions with NI Water to look at alternative ways of dealing with sewage from the proposed housing development.

However, the fact that the sewage network in the area is at full capacity will continue to have an impact on proposed developments in the area.

The problems being caused by the restricted sewage system in Derry were discussed at Northern Ireland Executive level last year.

In March last year, Foyle Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson asked Infra- structure Minister Nichola Mallon what steps she would be taking to ensure sewerage and wastewater capacity issues did not put building planning applications in Derry on hold.

In response, the Minister said NI Water was progressing a Drainage Area Plan (DAP) in the Culmore area.

"The current forecast completion date for the DAP is summer/autumn 2021," she said.

"NI Water's role in the planning process is that of a statutory consultee.

“It has been engaging with Derry City and Strabane District Council on wastewater system capacity issues over several years

"Over the last two years, substantial survey/ investigative work has been undertaken throughout Derry to inform the DAP process, including flow survey, network asset surveys and CCTV investigations.

"At this point, NI Water will have a more detailed understanding of the capacity issues and as such be better positioned to provide outline solutions."

Ms Mallon added: "As Minister, I aim to ensure that my Department will do all it can to assist in tackling these capacity issues.
"However, my budget is subject to a number of competing priorities.

“I have, therefore, engaged with the Finance Minister to highlight the critical need to secure the funding that I require to ensure sewerage and wastewater capacity issues do not put building planning applications in Derry and across the north on hold,” the Infrastructure Minister added.

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