Lecale Coast 3rd level sewerage scheme

This motion is not just about ensuring that residents on the Lecale Coast have the same level of sewage treatment on our beaches as residents on the Gold Coast, but is also about improving the Tourist product in this area and the reputation of the District generally.

It is clear that Down Council could propose Lecale beaches at Kilclief, Killard, and Ballyhornan as candidate beaches since we maintain their car-parks and service the area. Indeed Coney Island and Killough look possible too.

They are all on the Ulster Way (http://www.walkni.com/ulsterway/) and some are on the St Patricks Trail

The key differential between the Gold Coast and the Lecale Coast from NI Waters point of view is that “There are a number of bathing waters identified under the Bathing Water Directive along the Gold Coast. These include Helen’s Bay, Crawfordsburn, Ballyholme, Groomsport and Millisle. There are currently no designated bathing waters along the Lecale Coast.” (

To summarise

1. The motion follows 6 months of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to find out why the proposed new sewerage works in Ardglass was downgraded compared to original expectations

2. Some of you will remember that 7 years ago it was proposed that the new Ardglass sewerage works should also have The Lecale villages of Killough, Coney Island, Chapeltown and Ballyhornan piped to it, in the same manner as the new sewage works on the Gold Coast has gathered up all the sewage from places like Hollywood, via Bangor and Groomsport all the way to Millisle and Donaghadee and treated to the very highest level before being discharged.

3. My Foi’s to the NIEA, NI Water and the Water Management Unit have revealed that NI Water is operating to a higher standard on the Gold Coast as nearly all their beaches have been identified as ‘bathing waters’ under the EU Directive , but revealed that it was operating to a lower standard in Lecale as none of our beaches were identified as bathing water beaches. (NI Water is not correct about this, as both Murloch and Tryella are recognised bathing waters).

Hence the new sewage works in Ballyhornan will not pipe sewage to Ardglass as expected, but will simply sieve the sewage for larger objects before discharging near the beach at Gunns Island as at present.

4. The FoI reply from the Water Management Unit made a number of key points

a. If a beach was identified as a candidate bathing water BUT had a low standard of water quality – NI Water would be required to improve the quality of discharge at that location
b. The reply gave an example of Newcastle where the water quality did not meet EU standards in 2001, 5, 7 and 2010 resulting in designation under the EU directive which forced improvements to water treatment

5. In order for the Council to propose a beach as a candidate bathing water under the EU directive Council would have to bring forward a 4 point plan that can be summarised as including
– evidence of use
– that the beach is not dangerous
– facilities available at the site like car parking, access, signage and information provisions
– detail the public expectations about