19/08/2002

Work begins on £20m Mourne water treatment works

Regional Development Minister Peter Robinson has helped to lay the foundations of the new £20 million Mourne Water Treatment Works at Drumaroad, near Castlewellan.

It will be the largest Water Treatment Works to be constructed in Northern Ireland and will treat 155 million litres of water per day, supplied from the Silent Valley in the Mournes.

The new treatment plant will use a dissolved air floatation treatment process that will provide an effective barrier against cryptosporidium entering the water supply. There have been a number of recent cases of the diarrhoea-causing bug finding its way into tap water and it is hoped that the new filtration plant will help to reduce such occurrences in the future.

Speaking at the site of the Works, the Minister said: “Belfast and large parts of County Down have been supplied with high-quality drinking water from the Mournes for the last 100 years.

“However, in order to fully comply with the standards set by the European Union Drinking Water Directive, and to ensure effective protection against cryptosporidium, it is necessary to build a modern and sophisticated treatment works. I am delighted to help launch the construction work here today.”

This is the third and final phase of the Aquarius Mourne Water Project. The other phases involve replacing the 100-year-old Mourne Conduit, which includes laying 42 kilometres of new pipeline between Castlewellan and Belfast and the construction of two major pumping stations at a cost of £40 million.

The new pipeline and pumping stations will be fully operational by next Spring and will significantly improve the security of the public water supply to around 300,000 customers.

The Minister said: “It is Water Service’s highest priority to ensure that public health is protected. These significant investments demonstrate my commitment to ensuring that customers receive the highest quality drinking water.”

The Mourne Water Treatment Works is due to be completed in late 2004.

(SP)

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