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Tomatoes Growing in Sewage Works!

06 August 2010 14:04

Mary Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells and tomato seeds all in a row!

You'd expect to find tomatoes in your local supermarket and growing in greenhouses, but you'd probably be more surprised to hear that they are growing in sewage works!

NI Water has seen a surge in tomato plants popping up in treatment works across Northern Ireland and believe it or not, these plants thrive there.

NI Water’s Glenn Nixon, Supervisor of Belfast Wastewater Treatment Works explains:

“Every summer, we see tomato plants growing among the rags and paper which are removed during the first stage of the treatment process at the waste water treatment works. As tomato seeds are not digested by the human body, they find their way through the sewage system, to the treatment works and when removed, sit amongst other dried sewage which acts as a fertilizer and enables them to grow into tomato plants.

“Some people may find this information hard to ‘digest’ but they needn't worry about us supplying the supermarkets any time soon as the plants either die of natural causes or are destroyed when the skips are removed from our sites.”

Tomato plants are not the only strange things NI Water finds in treatment works and down sewers. Items such as school bells, carpets, Christmas trees and even kittens have all been found. NI Water is encouraging the public to adopt better flushing habits and it’s simple - anything other than toilet roll should go in the bin.

For more information on NI Water’s Bag It and Bin It campaign visit or if you would like to view first hand the damage caused to our sewers by the dumping of inappropriate items visit our Youtube site

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