28/06/2002

Water and sewerage infrastructure receives £100m

Regional Development Minister, Peter Robinson has outlined plans to invest almost £100 million on upgrading the province's water and sewerage infrastructure.

The Minister was speaking on Friday, June 28, at the opening of the new Derg Water Treatment Works near Castlederg, which was constructed at a cost of £10.3 million.

Unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion, Mr Robinson said: “The Derg Water Treatment Works will ensure compliance with the demanding quality standards set by the European Union Drinking Water Directive. It will also meet the increased demand for water in West Tyrone. I wish to congratulate all those involved for ensuring that this large and complex project has been completed on time and within budget.”

The Minister then announced details of the £100 million investment in over 400 water and sewerage projects across Northern Ireland. Mr Robinson said:

“This includes £21 million on drinking water treatment, £28 million on wastewater treatment, £30 million on improving water distribution networks, and £19 million on improving sewerage networks.”

The water treatment projects include the provision of a new treatment works for the Silent Valley. This is due to commence shortly at a cost of £25 million. Major investment is also taking place to upgrade water treatment works at Lough Bradan and Lough Macrory in Tyrone, at Woodburn near Carrickfergus and at Dunore Point on Lough Neagh.

The expenditure on wastewater treatment is necessary to ensure compliance with the standards set by the Environment and Heritage Service on the basis of European Union Directives. Improvements are already ongoing on 39 wastewater treatment works, including those in Strabane, Newry and Kilkeel. Later this year, work will commence on 18 other projects including major schemes in Larne, Cookstown, Ballymena, Glenavy, Waringstown and Portglenone.

The Minister said: “This investment demonstrates my commitment to ensuring the highest quality drinking water and wastewater treatment standards across Northern Ireland. However, much more investment is needed to make up for the significant underfunding of the past.

He added: "Over the last six years Water Service’s capital investment programmes have averaged £85 million per year. It is estimated that this needs to increase to £150 million per year, to meet European Union Directives and to meet the growing demand for effective and efficient services.”

(CL)

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