Calls for action to clear the sewage and drainage system in Lurgan have been made after the home of an ill woman was flooded during heavy rain.
Sandra Rutherford has pleaded with the authorities to do something after most of her Carrick Drive home was destroyed by surging sewage and flooding.
Mrs Rutherford, who has suffered serious ill health recently, is at her wit’s end after contacting a litany of government bodies and agencies who, she said, kept moving responsibility to the other.
Heavy rain almost two weeks ago led to a surge in the River Flush which flows close to her Carrick Drive home. At the bridge over the river just yards from her house, hundreds of bottles, cans and other litter clog up the system.
On Sunday, August 10 the flooding was so severe her home was immersed in sewage with effluent and water seeping right through her one storey home.
She had sandbags out and has a water pump, however the problem was so severe she has lost many of her carpets and possessions as they were damaged and had to be thrown out.
Mrs Rutherford said: “I live on my own and recently went through a triple by-pass. I am not fit to deal with this.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Sam Gardiner called for the authorities to be more proactive in dealing with this issue and has been working closely with the authorities to help Mrs Rutherford.
NI Water said it was aware of the incident. ‘‘After receiving notification of this incident, NI Water responded and carried out a clean-up of the affected properties. We subsequently met with local representatives at the scene and agreed to carry out a CCTV survey and a clean-up of the sewers to ensure they are continuing to operate at full capacity. This will be completed as soon as possible. NI Water would like to thank the local community for their patience while we complete this work.”
A Rivers Agency spokesperson said that while it is the ‘drainage Authority’ and has “permissive powers to carry out works to maintain the drainage function” it doesn’t have the power to address water quality or remove rubbish from watercourses (unless it is impeding the flow).
“Rivers Agency undertakes annual maintenance to the open watercourse adjoining 38 Carrick Drive, Lurgan. This work was carried out during February of this year. In addition, the inlet to the culvert is inspected weekly and was cleared on 4,7 and 14 of August. The watercourse was checked by an engineer on August 11, in response to a phone call from a local MLA. The inlet grille was found to be clear and the watercourse was free flowing. Rivers Agency will continue to monitor the condition of the watercourse at this location as part of its normal maintenance regime.”
A Craigavon Council spokesperson said: “Officers from both the environmental health and waste management departments were on site giving advice accordingly. Whilst there is considerable sympathy for this resident, the problem with the flow of the river lies with the Rivers Agency, while sewerage is covered by NI Water. Council does litter pick in the area and cleans the streets with the street sweepers fortnightly.”