Construction of new long sea outfall gets underway in County Down, NI

NI Water is set to begin the construction of a new long sea outfall at Ballyferris this month, as part of an ongoing programme of work to deliver water quality improvements along the Ards Peninsula.

The 550m-long pipe, which will be buried on the beach and installed three metres below the seabed, forms part of the £18m Ards North Wastewater Improvement Project, a major programme of work ongoing by NI Water to rationalise and upgrade the wastewater collection, treatment and transfer systems serving the villages of Carrowdore, Ballywhiskin and Ballywalter.

At the centre of the project is the construction of a new wastewater treatment works (WwTW) off the Ganaway Road in Ballywalter. This state-of-the art facility, which is being undertaken by contractor BSG, will treat the wastewater to strict environmental standards before discharging the clean effluent out to sea via the new long sea outfall which will be constructed off the coast at Ballyferris by local company Farrans, in association with Wexford-based Marine Specialists.

Welcoming this key milestone in the project, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “The commencement of the long sea outfall at Ballyferris marks a key milestone in the £18m Ards North Wastewater Improvement Project.

This significant investment by NI Water will ensure that wastewater is treated to a higher standard. This will bring environmental benefits including cleaner beaches and bathing waters. The sea outfall, which forms an integral part of the overall project, will help protect the scenic coastline and add to the tourism value of the Ards Peninsula.”

A large barge, which is currently being assembled in Bangor Marina, will be brought to Ballyferris in March to assist with work in the marine environment. The brand-new barge will house all the machinery and equipment required to dig the trench in the marine environment.

For safety reasons, exclusion zones – both on land and in the sea – will be formed by Farrans and Marine Specialists during the different work activities associated with the outfall construction. These will be clearly demarcated on the beach via signage and in the marine environment using marker buoys. While these exclusion zones are in place, public access along the beach will be maintained.

The 550m-long outfall pipe will be assembled onshore in early April and towed out to Ballyferris once the trench has been fully excavated.

Damien McKeown, Project Manager for NI Water added: “NI Water and our appointed local contractors are making huge strides on the Ards North Wastewater Improvement Project, with great progress being made on the construction of the new wastewater treatment works, pumping stations and pipelines.

“The new outfall pipe forms a critical part of the overall project and we are pleased that installation work is now underway with completion expected in summer 2022.

“We appreciate the support of local caravan park owners and other stakeholders in planning the installation of this essential infrastructure and will strive to keep any disruption to a minimum.

“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of our project managers, TetraTech and contractors, BSG and Farrans to thank the council, residents, businesses, holidaymakers and landowners affected by the wider project for their support to date and for their patience and cooperation as we progress this essential £18m wastewater improvement project.”

Once fully complete in 2023, the new wastewater infrastructure will support long-term economic growth in local development and tourism and will benefit all those living, working, visiting or investing in this scenic part of the Ards Peninsula.

SourceNI Water

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