31/05/2013

Warning Over NI Water Vandalism

NI Water have issued a warning over vandalism at a wastewater treatment works in Co Londonderry.

The company added that the actions could lead to river pollution or to someone being seriously injured.

Over the past two weeks, there have been a number of break-ins at the works which treats wastewater flows from around 1,000 properties in the Moneymore area.

NI Water said fencing, control panels and other equipment had been targeted, with the most recent attack occurring on Wednesday.

Alec McQuillan, Head of Wastewater at NI Water, said: "We have had a number of incidents at this site in recent years which have caused considerable expense and disruption. The latest incidents have resulted in approximately £2,500 worth of damage while previous incidents have cost over £4,000.

"It is frustrating to be spending funding on replacing equipment and improving site security as a result of vandalism, rather than on investment and improvement programmes.

"However, what worries us more is the potential for a pollution incident to occur or for someone to get seriously injured while attempting to enter the Works or while tampering with the equipment.

"The deep sludge tanks are also a major hazard, as it would be very difficult for anyone falling into the tanks to get out. Unfortunately, it would be unlikely that the emergency services would be able to rescue anyone who has fallen into one of these tanks."

NI Water said it was working with police and had increased its own staffing levels on the site in a bid to catch those responsible for the attacks.

(JP/CD)

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