‘Robust’ water monitoring at Woodburn site, say NIEA

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A “robust” system of water monitoring is in place at the Woodburn Forest drill site, NIEA has said.

Representatives from the agency’s Water Management Unit met with members of Stop the Drill at the end of May. Staff from NI Water were also present.

The monitoring programme includes both surface waters and groundwaters, a spokesperson for NIEA said. “Baseline monitoring was undertaken before construction began on site,” the spokesperson added.

“The water quality monitoring programme includes waterways that feed both North Woodburn Reservoir and the lower reservoirs, as well as private groundwater abstractions in the area. NIEA has agreed a water quality monitoring programme with InfraStrata for the duration of the project. This entails InfraStrata monitoring at agreed sample points at an agreed frequency and having samples analysed at an accredited laboratory, before reporting the results to NIEA.”

Following a number of mineral oil spills, the agency also carried out a “pollution prevention” visit to the site on May 16. “NIEA observed that bunded fuel containers are now in use, the diverted waterway has now been lined with geo-textile; sandbags have been placed over the main culvert to prevent fines from entering the waterway on site,” the spokesperson added.

“On May 25, NIEA conducted an oil storage site inspection in relation to the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations 2010. A follow up inspection will be conducted in the near future to ensure the Oil Storage Facilities meet regulatory requirements.”