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Thomas Crapper Day

26 January 2012 16:48

Friday 27th January is no bog standard day. It is in fact, ‘Thomas Crapper Day’ and marks the anniversary of Thomas Crapper’s death in 1910. To mark this day, NI Water is asking customers to reflect on where we might be today without a modern sewerage system, and consider how they can help ensure it works properly.

Thomas Crapper was one of the pioneers in the bathroom fitting business in the 1800’s, and did much to increase the popularity of the toilet and sanitary plumbing. He also developed some important related inventions such as the ballcock.

As the popularity of the flush toilet grew, so did the rubbish that was put down it. Popular folklore claims people actually made a living by scavenging early sewers for items such as jewellery, cutlery and coins, as well as bits of cloth and metal.

Des Nevin, Head of Networks Sewerage at NI Water comments:

“History is repeating itself today, as NI Water is still finding inappropriate items dumped down the sewer such as wedding rings, money, nappies, building materials and even cuddly toys washing into pumping stations and treatment works, as well as bits of rubbish that should be in the bin.

“Many people genuinely don’t realise the damage they are doing, not only to their own internal pipes, but also to the sewerage system they share with their neighbours. It is only when faced with blocked drains and out of sewer flooding that they realise those ‘harmless baby wipes’ are in fact creating chaos!

“Overall, NI Water spends in the region of £1.7 million per year clearing blocked sewers, money which could be better spent improving services to the local community.”

To help the system work properly, we need to use it responsibly. Whilst NI Water has a responsibility for the sewerage system, everyone in Northern Ireland has a duty to dispose of their waste appropriately.

So, next time you are about to flush the ‘crapper’, think about the items you’re putting down it (or shouldn’t be putting down it!).

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