Belfast Telegraph

'Horrendous' - Clean-up after waste spillage covers Tyrone village street - 'It didn't smell like normal slurry'

A clean-up operation is underway in Co Tyrone after a foot of waste was sprayed across a village's main street, leading to some businesses closing down.

The spillage occurred on Moore Street in Aughnacloy on Thursday morning.

It is understood the substance is a dairy by-product often used as a feed supplement for pigs.

The PSNI closed the road between Dungannon Street and Sydney Street junctions for a time.

Rhonda Montgomery from Hospitality Excellence Ireland told the BBC she came into work at 9am and was greeted by a “horrendous sight”.

She said: "This slurry to me, from having worked in the industry, doesn’t look or smell like normal slurry.

“Usually we would have two staff cars and fleet cars but thankfully they are not here today otherwise they would be covered.

“Cars were plastered in it and it had been dragged further up the road by other cars.

“Thankfully I am allowed to continue to keep the business open but the butcher across the way has had to close and there is no parking at the hairdresser. It’s horrendous.”

The Morrow Family Butchers, posting on social media, said: “Due to a large spillage on the main street and it being so close to the shop. We want to take the most hygienic option and therefore will be closed today.

“If anything changes later on we will let you know. Take caution as its slippy!”

Moore Street, Aughnacloy. Credit: Rhonda Montgomery

Mid Ulster Council is aware of the incident and is assisting in the clean-up.

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said: “This spillage has severely affected local residents and businesses who have been majorly disrupted.

“Many members of the public have gotten in touch with me and other SDLP members seeing what can be done about it.

"No one wants their town smelling foul which is bound to be impacting people’s health and well-being. I’ve got assurances from Council and other Departmental bodies that all possible is being done to ensure a swift clean up of this absolute mess.

“An investigation should be launched immediately to discover the cause of this spillage that has wrecked havoc on the local community.”

Moore Street, Aughnacloy. Credit: Rhonda Montgomery

DUP councillor Frances Burton, deputy chair of the local authority said: “The stench of it, to put it mildly, it is foul.”

She added: “Aughnacloy is a border town and they would have a lot of heavy goods vehicles trundling through from the wee small hours. There would be a large amount of vehicles coming through, both heading south and going to Fermanagh. I think the traffic spread the litter that was on the middle of the road.”

Cllr Burton thanked the local business owners for their efforts in cleaning up the mess.

UUP MLA Rosemary Barton said: “I was made aware of this spillage and requested that the local Council and Environment agencies should undertake an immediate clean up and identify who was responsible as soon as possible.

"I am aware that some businesses were forced to close due to hygiene fears and the road between Dungannon Street and Sydney Street were closed for a time.

"The smell which I understand was most pungent certainly would not encourage people to stop and shop in the town. The prompt action of the Council staff and other agencies in the clean-up operation was very welcome, however the horrendous odour may last overnight.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said: “The time the incident occurred at Aughnacloy has not yet been established, but the spillage was picked up by the NIEA Pollution Response Team on social media at approximately 10:00am on Thursday. "Due to the potential for a water pollution incident to occur should inappropriate clean-up methods be used (such as power-hosing to road gullies or storm drains), NIEA deployed Water Quality Inspectors to the area to confirm the situation and determine the water pollution risk.

“From investigations to date, it is understood that the material spilled is whey – a dairy by-product which is often used as a feed supplement for pigs. A clean-up, supervised by the local council and Transport NI is currently under way with NIEA Inspectors providing advice to ensure any residual risk to water quality is minimised.

"Currently, there has been no impact on water quality and, given the particular location and the remediation measures being taken, that is likely to remain the case.”

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