Flooding nightmare for Ballynahinch businesses

Flooding nightmare for Ballynahinch businesses

24 June 2020

BUSINESS owners in Ballynahinch were forced to protect their properties from rising floodwater mixed with raw sewage last week.

A torrential downpour on Wednesday morning resulted in hundreds of gallons of water swamping the Main Street area, with a combined sewer close to the Lisburn Street junction unable to cope with the deluge.

The sewer — which handles storm water and raw sewage — flooded, forcing business owners to reach for sand bags to barricade their properties from rising water.

There have been a number of similar incidents over recent years at this part of the town, with the most recent sparking calls for a joint site meeting with Northern Ireland Water and the Department for Infrastructure officials.

Rowallane councillor Billy Walker claimed that in the past both organisations denied responsibility for addressing the issue, with each blaming the other.

He said “this nonsense must end” and that a site meeting involving officials from both organisations was the only way to resolve the issue.

Cllr Walker said while the problem has been raised with both NI Water and the roads department in the past, it has not been addressed.

He said the business community at this part of Ballynahinch is fed up with having to protect properties, explaining that traders’ frustration is giving way to anger.

“We simply cannot allow storm water and raw sewage to flow into a combined drain which struggles to cope 

when there is heavy rain and then spews out onto a main road,” the Rowallane councillor declared.

“Both organisations which are refusing to accept responsibility for addressing the issue are acutely aware of the problem but are refusing to act.

“Some members of the Ballynahinch business community should not have to run for sand bags every time there is heavy rain to protect their properties,” he declared.

“Rain water mixed with raw sewage should not be allowed to spill onto a busy street given the implications this has not only for property, but people’s health. The problem cannot go unaddressed any longer.”

He said there was speculation that debris from work on the town’s public realm scheme completed several years ago may be causing a blockage within the combined sewer.

He explained that on occasions the volume of water being forced up through drains was powerful enough to lift heavy metal covers which could potentially damage passing cars.

Cllr Walker said while drains in Main Street and Lisburn Street had previously been cleaned by high-powered water jets, the flooding issue when there is heavy rain remains.

He added: “Raw sewage must not be allowed to spill on to a road next to businesses. Such a situation is unacceptable at any time, but given the impact of coronavirus on many businesses, the last thing their should have to worry abut is flood water mixed with raw sewage threatening their premises.

“Either NI Water or the Department for Infrastructure is responsible for addressing this issue. They need to act as Ballynahinch traders cannot be left in limbo any longer.”