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An affluent area in North Down which suffered bad smells linked to sewage spills is continuing to experience unpleasant odours - this time possibly due to rotting seaweed.

The source of recent malodours at Kinnegar and Seapark in Holywood may finally have been located, a local councillor has revealed, weeks after Northern Ireland Water was called in to resolve a sewage blockage near Cultra, an affluent residential neighbourhood nearby.

The foul pong near Cultra which caused a wave of complaints last month from residents was identified as raw human waste water leaking into Belfast Lough.

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Meanwhile, another nasty niff at the Kinnegar and Seapark stretch of coast is being sourced to seaweed.

Alliance Councillor for the area David Rossiter said, "In recent weeks, there have been intensive investigations by the Ards and North Down Environment Department, Northern Ireland Water and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to source the origin of the odours.

“Northern Ireland Water conducted tests at their water treatment facility and concluded the issue did not originate with them. Several field visits were then carried out by council environment staff and the relevant agencies.

“During these visits, it was observed there may be a possible seaweed source to the odours. A build-up of rotten seaweed was observed at a Department of Infrastructure overflow sewer near the train station adjacent to the Esplanade. The council are now liaising with the department about any issues they are experiencing with this sewer infrastructure.

“Council Environment Officers are also liaising with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, hoping the rotting seaweed can be removed. There are currently tight guidelines from the Department on removing this type of decomposition. As such, the council must wait for advice.”

He added: “I would sincerely urge the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to liaise ASAP with council on safely removing the rotting seaweed so local residents are no longer met with poor odours whenever they open a window or the front door.”

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NI Water has outlined works to desilt an area in Bangor, projected to conclude in early 2024. The Drainage Area Study aims to offer a comprehensive understanding of network capacity issues for NI Water and help plan future investment.

NI Water said “We have for some time been advising of the issues across Northern Ireland arising from historic underinvestment in our wastewater infrastructure. We will invest £2.2 billion during PC21, with over £1bn being invested in wastewater assets.

“However, the full scale of wastewater issues will realistically take at least 12 to 18 years, or two to three price control periods, to address.”

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