Spa resident’s delight after ‘nightmare’ over sewer issue resolved

Spa resident’s delight after ‘nightmare’ over sewer issue resolved

2 October 2019

A CRUCIAL meeting has taken place to establish the scale of work required at a private housing development at the Spa to bring sewers, a sewage pumping station, roads and footpaths up to standard.

Residents who live at the Carnglave Manor development say they have had to experience “nightmare” conditions for the past six years and are pleased that the Department of Infrastructure is to formally adopt the estate, which will mean it will be responsible for its upkeep.

In December 2013, Stuart Boyd and his young family moved into the estate but what followed was years of ongoing drainage issues due to a fault with a pumping station, with the problem exacerbated by the fact part of the 15 year-old development had not been adopted by the relevant departmental bodies.

Mr Boyd — whose family home sits in the middle of the development — is the first to be affected by ongoing technical issues with the water pump that regulates drainage, with Carnglave Manor also affected by flooding problems due to heavy rainfall which results in drains overflowing and sandbags being used to stop water reaching residents’ homes. 

The frustrated resident revealed that within weeks of moving into the new family home, issues started to arise, with the first problem starting in the en-suite shower where water was not fully draining away after the shower had been turned off. Mr Boyd said he checked for blockages but discovered none.

The en-suite toilet started to experience problems by not fully draining after flushing, with water rising to the top of the rim. Then a second toilet became affected with the same issue and could not be used.

Mr Boyd contacted NI Water and was informed that the problem could not be investigated fully due to the fact that part of the development had not been adopted and that the issue was “historical”.

However, emergency action was taken for the problem to be resolved temporarily and the drains were cleared. 

A matter of weeks later, the same issue happened again and Mr Boyd made contact with the developer who informed him of a “quick fix” to resolve the problem. 

“I was told by the developer that to sort the problem was to restart the sewage station pump by pressing buttons on an electrical panel,” he said.

“This worked fine over the years but became tedious as I had to do it so often. When my wife was heavily pregnant with our third child two years ago the problem happened again, but the switch I normally pressed failed to work.”

Mr Boyd said repairs were then carried out and steps seemed to be taking place to adopt the street in Carnglave Manor. He was also concerned that despite being told a formal adoption would take place, nothing happened.

The resident contacted Slieve Croob councillor Alan Lewis to investigate the issue and is delighted that things are now moving in the right direction as a result of him putting pressure on the relevant departments.

Cllr Lewis described the adoption of Carnglave Manor as “an immediate necessity” for the progression of completion and resident safety and that the issue had been allowed to go on for too long. He said a process had begun to access so-called bond monies to carry out the necessary repairs.

Cllr Lewis added: “There are a number of issues with the equipment which remain unresolved and NI Water and roads officials have been working in collaboration toward ensuring that bond monies paid by the contractor are utilised to ensure that necessary repairs are carried out which would bring the pumping station up to spec for adoption.”

The councillor said he was “horrified” to discover Mr Boyd had been educated on the operation of the pumping equipment to ensure proper drainage which sometimes involved him walking down the street in the middle of the night to reset the electronic pump.

“I am also advised that residents have in previous years unblocked drains and battled flood waters; they have been living in absolute  horror. The purchase of a family home should be joyous, exciting and fulfilling. Instead, residents have had to endure misery, worry, stress strain and hassle.”

Cllr Lewis confirmed that due to frequent periods of heavy flooding in the development he has contacted Rivers Agency requesting flood maps to assess if the area is prone to or at risk of flooding and has asked Land and Property Services to explore the possibility of a rates rebate for Carnglave Manor residents.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Infrastructure said she aware of the situation at Carnglave Manor and, as the developer had failed to complete the site to the appropriate standard, had initiated enforcement action. 

“This is with a view to carrying out the necessary works to bring the sewers, sewerage pumping station and roads/footways up to adoption standard,” she explained.

The spokeswoman added: “The Department is meeting with Northern Ireland Water this week to fully establish the extent of defects in the sewers and sewerage pumping station. The extent and nature of this work will largely dictate the timeframe going forward.”