The residents tried for 19 years to have the Sewerage Scandal of Ripley Mews sorted out.
Politicians pilloried Northern Ireland Water for the past two years as it got worse. The Portadown Times got it resolved in a few days.
Every time there was a heavy shower of rain, the sewers overflowed, the manholes lifted, and foul smelling faeces covered the gardens and flowed into garages.
It all came to a head last Tuesday when the heavens opened – so, too, did the manholes – and five families were left with the stomach-churning sight and smell of the material that should have been making its way to the NI Water sewerage treatment works.
Both parties – the politicians and the residents – called out the Portadown Times in utter frustration.
Resident Darren Richardson said, “This is perhaps the worst ever, with an hour-long deluge of rain forcing up the contents of the pipes which just can’t handle the amount that flows through them at a time like this.
“We expected another overflow, but this was the worst and the last straw.”
Private contracts, called out by NIW, did their usual professional job is cleaning out the pipes and the manholes, and in clearing up most of the mess.
“But the damage had been done and we’d had enough,” said Mr Richardson. Councillor Darryn and Causby and Alderman Arnold Hatch were on the scene.
Mr Causby said, “Our office (DUP) has been on the case for years, and have received hollow promises. We’re glad, at last, that the Times has got results.”
Top officials from NIW called at the weekend, and almost immediately a plan was worked out. Mr Causby said, “It transpired that far too much waste was being forced from the main Armagh Road system and at the worst times, and the pipes at the Mews simply can’t cope.”
Work started on Monday to lay by-pass pipes in the main Armagh Road, leaving the small pipes at the Mews to cater for the immediate Mews, with NIW having promised a relief connection to reduce the likelihood of flooding in the short term, and this was accompanied by an apology and a caveat that a long-term solution was being worked out.
Said Mr Causby, “The NIW has been true to its word, and we thank them for that. But there really is no excuse why it all took so long.”
And Alderman Hatch commented, “It shows the power of the press again that they got NIW to act, but it’s a mystery why it went on for years.”
Resident Darren Richardson said, “Here’s hoping it works. We’ll be keeping a careful eye on things. It was terrible having to live with this stench and the nauseating sight for so long. We thank everyone concerned.”