Environment Agency: Gortview Park sewage ‘not contaminating the Torrent’

Sewage seeping from a botched housing development in Coalisland is causing no “visible” pollution to the Torrent River, environment experts have said.

Concerned residents of Gortview Park in Gortgonis have been left in limbo since discovering their new homes were never connected to a proper sewer system and never received building approval.

It was feared sewage from the site would seep into the Torrent, as no one knows what is under the ground or where the sewage goes to.

But water quality experts have so far said there have been no signs of pollution reaching the river.

Tankers are making an increasing number of visits to the housing development in a bid to pump out sewage and stop it from backing up into the houses.

But the Northern Ireland Enviornment Agency (NIEA) has said the short-term fix for the problem is “not wholly satisfactory” and requires a proper solution.

In a letter to the Dungannon council, Ian Needham, senior water quality inspector for NIEA, said: “I envisage that the increased frequency of sewage removal will substantially reduce the potential polluting effect from the development.

“To date I have not observed any effluent reaching or causing visible impact upon the Torrent River.”

Mr Needham said he intended to “periodically visit the site to monitor the situation”.

He added: “I am content in the short term. NIEA have, however, sought a long-term solution to be proposed as it is recognised the current situation is not wholly satisfactory.”

The issue was discussed by councillors at the Strategic Service Delivery Committee on March 27 after the council received information from the Southern Group Environmental Health Committee.

Residents discovered the problems with the Gortview Park development after they purchased the houses.

The builder went bankrupt having just completed a dozen homes in a planned development of more than 100.

When the builder went bust, the residents were left with no-one to seek legal redress from for the botched development.

And to sort the sewage problem, they also need access to land that is now in the hands of a receiver.

The receiver is not responsible for their problem because the homes were bought before the builder went bust. They are unable to turn to the builder for help, and they have no building control certificate.

The only way the householders can solve the problem is to have a costly sewer system built on land they do not own.

A building control certificate is mandatory for any new home and properties cannot be bought or sold without one – but the residents were inexplicably able to buy their homes and get mortgages without knowing they had no certificate.

>Sewer nightmare for Gortgonis residents

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