Community urged to help put end to stink

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NI Water has asked the community to report illegal dumping after a strong gas smell caused an alert for a second time in less than a fortnight.

A number of Larne town centre businesses had to be evacuated and a main thoroughfare sealed off for two hours on Monday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said that three appliances attended Narrow Gauge Road at 1.25 pm.

“A cordon was put in place and shops were evacuated as a precautionary measure. Firefighters used gas monitors to see if gas could be detected but all readings were zero. This is a recurrent issue that the Fire Service has attended several times before. The smell appears to be coming from the sewers. “

A spokesperson for NI Water said: “NI Water can confirm staff carried out investigations at a site in Larne town centre following reports of odours from the sewer network. At this stage, the most likely cause of the odour is an illegal discharge into the sewer network, i.e. an individual or business dumping inappropriate items into the sewer.

“This cannot be confirmed until the source of the odour is discovered.

“To that end, NI Water would encourage any members of the public to contact NI Water on 08457 440088 should they observe any illegal dumping.

“In the meantime, NI Water is asking for the help of businesses and the local community in Larne to ensure they are using their sewer network correctly, particularly when disposing fats, oils and grease. NI Water will continue to carry out investigations including sampling in an effort to resolve the situation.”

The alarm was first raised on August 29 when Quay Street and householders and businesses were asked to leave their premises .

A spokesperson for NI Water added: “We would encourage all customers to dispose of waste items appropriately, and remind everyone that the sewerage system is designed to carry only the three Ps – pee, poo and paper. “