Two civic amenities vital to Londonderry’s future well-being - safe drinking water and a proper 21st century road network - are currently on collision course with Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan acknowledging his Deparment and TransportNI have yet to agree a way forward on how to facilitate the new A6 roadway without polluting the River Faughan.
As it currently stands the A6 could potentially drive a bus through part of the Mobuoy Road illegal dump site, which as reported hereabouts back in 2013 lies just hundreds of metres upstream from where the Carmoney treatment plant extracts drinking water for 50,000 people in Londonderry.
Yet the Department of Regional Development (DRD) reckons it’s safe to allow a portion of the million tonnes of rubbish illegally dumped on the banks of the Faughan to remain buried in the ground as an integral part of a flood compensation scheme that will be developed with the Claudy to Campsie section of the A6 road project.
Now Mr Durkan has acknowledged that the Department of the Environment (DoE) and DRD remain at loggerheads over the issue with a face-off over a brand new road, on the one hand, and safe drinking water for the citizens of Londonderry, on the other.
“My officials are in discussions with Transport NI within the DRD regarding the remediation measures and long term management at the Mobuoy waste site.
“To date, there is no agreement in place on suitable remediation measures protective of water quality of the River Faughan that will simultaneously facilitate the proposed flood compensation of the Faughan floodplain at Mobuoy Road,” he told Green MLA Steven Agnew, who raised the matter by way of an Assembly Question.
The Minister said his top priority was making sure the Faughan and our drinking water is not contaminated.
“It is worth noting that DoE’s primary objective is to implement a remediation strategy protecting water quality of the River Faughan and NI Water’s abstraction at Carnmoney water treatment works that supplies drinking water to Derry,” he said.
“However, we are working with DRD/Transport NI to see if there is a way forward to meet the objectives of all concerned.”
Mr Durkan added: “Transport NI is an important Stakeholder for the Mobuoy site. My Department has established a Mobuoy Waste Stakeholder Group that has over 20 Stakeholders including DRD/Transport NI.
“Transport NI attended the first Stakeholder event in February 2015. Officials in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency will continue to invite DRD/Transport NI to all future Stakeholder events.”