Raw sewage has spilled onto the shoreline at some of Co Down’s most popular beaches after heavy rain overwhelmed sewerage systems.
The beaches at Helen’s Bay and Crawfordsburn have been cleaned after large pools of sewage were seen floating in the sea on |Monday.
They were reported to Northern Ireland Water by Alliance councillor Andrew Muir who was running on the North Down Coastal Path at around 7pm.
“Large pools of sewage were evident in the sea near Helen’s Bay and Crawfordsburn beaches,” he said.
“When I passed through Kerr’s Wood between Carnalea Golf Club and Rathmore Road, a strong smell of sewage was also evident from the local stream.”
Councillor Muir reported the incident to NI Water and engineers worked late into the night to resolve the problem, he said.
“It appears that the sewage systems were overwhelmed as a result of the heavy rainfall experienced on Monday night. Raw sewage was therefore released directly into the stream and Belfast Lough,” Councillor Muir said.
“Whilst I accept that NI Water are currently undertaking a survey to determine work required to ensure raw sewage doesn’t overflow into streams during periods of heavy rainfall, it is unacceptable that North Down should continue to experience such pollution incidents in 2010.
“If anyone is aware of areas that need cleaned up please contact NI Water (08457 440088) or myself (07813 945411).
Northern Ireland Environment Agency said the incident was not reported to them but an investigation had now been launched.
They urged members of the public who observed water pollution to contact the Water Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.