Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

‘How many times is my home going to be ruined?’

An east Belfast man affected by yesterday’s torrential rain has described how his home has been repeatedly deluged with waste water after the sewage system outside his house was overwhelmed.

Christopher Grant has suffered flooding at his home in the Castlereagh area for several years, due to what he called an “antiquated” pipe system in front of his house. He contacted NI Water, which provides water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland, to try and resolve the problem. The company fitted a ‘non-returning valve’, which is supposed to stop flood water from entering his property, but Mr Grant claims the problem has only worsened.

“It is a very basic, homemade rubber flap and has caused a bigger problem whereby the sewage can't get out of my property,” he said.

“It's a glorified cat-flap. It's ineffective and has caused the sewage to remain on my property rather than get rid of it.”

The new problem came to light soon after the device had been fitted around a month ago, he said.

“We came back from holiday and I checked the inspection chamber. And to my horror the sewage was up to the brim,” said Mr Grant.

“NI Water sent a private drainage company out the following morning, who could have come out the night before, but NI Water didn't want to pay for the double time.”

Mr Grant said he wanted the device removed and replaced with something more effective, and called on NI Water to urgently update the sewage system in his street. “There's an old crockery pipe which can't take the system that already exists,” he said.

“Also planning permission has been given for 22 apartments beside me. The system cannot take what's already there and I dread to think what is going to happen when these buildings are finished.”

Local UUP councillor Michael Copeland said he would be meeting with representatives from NI Water to discuss the problems.

“I share Mr Grant and his family’s sense of frustration that this situation remains unsolved, and as a result of this and other flooding problems suffered in many districts of Belfast and Castlereagh,” he said. “People can no longer be expected to live in fear of a grey cloud in the sky — for many the threat and fear of flooding is intolerable.”

A spokeswoman from NI Water said: “NI Water takes any complaint about its service very seriously and would like to assure Mr Grant that it is not only aware of his dissatisfaction, but is working towards finding a solution.

“An anti-flood valve was put in place which NI Water believes was fit for purpose. However, NI Water would be happy to visit the property and reassess the situation as necessary.”

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