Six Mile Water Health Warning

ANTRIM ANGLERS FEAR RIVER REPRESENTS A HEALTH HAZARD

Antrim & District Angling Association is advising anglers to stay away from the river for the time being following the discovery of what appears to be sewage fungus coming down the river. The material which is light coloured and resembles what one member described as rotting flesh was first discovered last Tuesday but the source was not discovered until Friday due to problems with access because of the work on the motorway bridge at Templepatrick. Our own investigations have found an absence of the material above Ballyclare Sewage facility but a heavy accumulation immediately below. Northern Ireland Environment Agency are investigating at present and may be able to give an accurate discription of the material. In the meantime we suspect that it may be sewage fungus and as such may pose a health hazard. It is particularly unfortunate that the incident has happened at this time of year because with over-enrichment from sewage and agricultural sources, and very low flows, the river already has problems with algae and blanket weed which suffocate any of the beneficial plants which provide oxygen, cover and habitat for invertebrate and fish populations. The material coming down at the moment is accumulating in the slow pools and decomposing so who knows what damage could be caused.
The Six Mile Water River Trust and Antrim Anglers have been working hard with the various government agencies to improve conditions on the river and improve facilities for groups such as schoolchildren , canoists, walkers etc. and of course benefit the wildlife itself and it is disappointing to see incidents like this continue to destroy the beautiful river habitat that exists. In the meantime we would have to advise river users not to come near the river in case there might be a krypto virus hazard or similar and hopefully the N I Environment Agency can resolve the problem in the near future.
Michael Martin
Antrim & District Angling Association
Six Mile Water Trust

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