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NI Water Statement - Pollution incidents at Ballygawley River

23 November 2018 16:53

NI Water has been fined £16,500 today in relation to pollution incidents at the Ballygawley River in May 2017. 


In a statement, an NI Water spokesperson said, “NI Water takes its responsibility to the environment with the utmost seriousness, having invested approximately £500 million in the network over the last three years, helping make our rivers and beaches the cleanest that they have ever been.


“Unfortunately, on this occasion, we failed to maintain the highly exacting standards that we set ourselves. These incidents occurred due to a defect in the sewer combined with several blockages caused by inappropriate items such as wipes, with staff even recovering a metal pole. 


“Staff acted quickly in responding to these incidents and NI Water have invested significant time and resources taking remedial actions to mitigate the risk of such an occurrence arising in the future.  However, no amount of investment or work will completely stop blocked pipes if people continue to flush wipes (including those labelled as flushable), sanitary items and cotton buds down the toilet.  We need our customers to help us in this battle by being mindful of what they flush.


“NI Water treats 340 million litres of waste water every day through a network which comprises over 15,000 kilometres of pipes and more than 1,000 wastewater treatment works.


“The extent and size of the network we operate means there is a risk of pollution incidents of this nature occurring.  For this reason, the company is set stringent targets by the Utility Regulator to reduce pollution incidents.  Whilst these targets have been consistently met and exceeded since 2008, on those rare instances when an incident does arise, it is a matter of the utmost regret to no one more than ourselves.


“As a company, we place the highest possible priority on the protection of the environment to which we safely discharge treated water each and every day from our wastewater treatment plants.”



Click on the video below to view CCTV footage of a recent sewer blockage which highlights the damage flushing ‘harmless’ wipes can do.


Media enquiries to Press Office on 028 9035 4710 or



Since the incidents at Ballygawley in Co Tyrone, we have:-


  • taken actions to mitigate the risk of such an occurrence arising by carrying out an emergency desilt of approximately 500 metres of the sewerage network

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