Belfast Telegraph

Major new waste treatment ponds set for Ballykelly

Sara Venning
Sara Venning
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

NI Water is set to get the official go-ahead to develop a major new waste treatment facility on the site of the former Shackletown Barracks in Ballykelly.

An application to create eight ponds to treat waste water over 25 hectares at the site has been approved by planning officials at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

The bid by NI Water, which is led by chief executive Sara Venning, is expected to be backed at the council’s next planning committee meeting next Wednesday.

The integrated constructed wetland (ICW) is designed to treat discharge from the existing waste water treatment works (WWTW) at Shackletown.

Built in the 1970s after the site was handed over the British Army, it was designed to serve a population of just under 8,000.

However the closure of the barracks in 2008 meant the population was halved to around 3,600, leaving the works “both biologically and hydraulically oversized” and therefore failing to meet standards.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) transferred the site to the Northern Ireland Executive in October 2011.

The Department of Agriculture Environment and Agriculture (DAERA) relocated its headquarters to a new £21m facility at Ballykelly in March 2018.

The approved plan was the result of an agreement between NI Water and DAERA.

Effluent from the existing works will flow through the eight ponds, which NI Water says will be planted with a range of plants species, before being discharged downstream.

Alternatives were considered, including pumping away material to nearby treatment works in River Roe or Limavady.

However, those options, which would have required the construction of new pumping stations and pipelines over a significant distance, were considered “both energy and cost intensive”.

Planners concluded: “The proposal will result in the provision of an environmentally and economically sustainable development which will achieve the overall aim of providing adequate waste water treatment facilities to serve the Ballykelly catchment.”

Belfast Telegraph