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Primary Walk Sewage Pumping Station Pollution Incident

15 August 2011 16:01

Northern Ireland Water (NI Water) has been found guilty of causing a pollution incident from Primary Walk Sewage Pumping Station (SPS), in Waringstown on 27th June and 5th July 2010. Both incidents were linked to blockages caused by inappropriate items that resulted in discharges into the nearby River Lagan. On 5th July, NIE power failures contributed to the problems at the pumping station causing the pumps to trip.

A spokesperson for NI Water explained, "NI Water acted quickly to stop the discharges on both occasions and to clean up the sites. Further investigation found that the blockages had been caused by a large amount of inappropriate items, which the sewerage system is not designed to cope with.

"This blockage and subsequent sewage spill could have been prevented and NI Water is investigating the source of the materials, however, we would like to ask for the publics’ assistance in reducing these occurrences by not placing inappropriate items in the toilet, down a drain or into the sewers.

"Inappropriate items include cotton buds, nappies, sanitary items, household wipes and condoms which regularly make their way through the sewerage system and cause serious blockages, leading to the operation of emergency overflows. This can cause harm to property, wildlife and the environment.

"Whilst NI Water has a responsibility for the sewerage system, everyone in Northern Ireland can help reduce these incidents. The advice is simple, only toilet roll and human waste should be flushed down the toilet, for everything else - bag it and bin it, don't flush it."

NI Water was fined £500 for each incident and cooperated fully with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency throughout the process.

NI Water views the protection of the environment as a major priority and invests significant resources and measures to safeguard it. NI Water's environmental record is improving each year, and due to major capital investment, we have achieved the best ever wastewater compliance in 2010.

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