As Belfast’s population and commerce continues to grow and climate change produces more intense rainfall events, the ageing drainage infrastructure will continue to come under pressure.

Due to constraints in investment over the past 20 years many parts of the wastewater and drainage infrastructure serving greater Belfast are now having to operate at or over design capacity.

Image of a flooded garden for Living with Water Programme

The wastewater system urgently needs significant levels of additional investment to facilitate future growth and development. Furthermore, Belfast has experienced a number of serious flooding events in recent years and the water quality in Inner Belfast Lough has been deteriorating due to a combination of pollution from agriculture and discharges from Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) and Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).

For example, Belfast WwTW is having to treat a load that is 40% greater than it was designed for, and around 50% of the circa 340 Combined Sewer Overflow’s that exist in the area have been assessed as being unsatisfactory because they result in pollution (raw sewage mixed with rainwater) entering the rivers and the Lough when it rains.  If these issues are not addressed, future development may be constrained and flooding and pollution will intensify.

Belfast Sewer Networks areas and WwTW



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