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Northern Ireland’s ‘Concreteberg’

19 April 2019 13:40

 | NI Water News

You’ve seen the ‘Concreteberg’ blocking sewers in London, now feast your eyes on the Northern Ireland version.  Measuring 30ft long and approximately half a tonne in weight, a team of staff and McAllister Bros Ltd found a large block of concrete, enough to build a small garden wall, in Omagh.

NI Water are in the process of cleaning the Omagh Inner Trunk Sewer, located on the banks of the River Strule, and have been working at it for weeks. Anthony McGirr, Wastewater Manager for the area comments, “We are used to tackling fatbergs and other inappropriate items in our sewers but this is a ‘solid’ find.

“Staff came across this concrete block as part of their 4 week programme to clean this vital piece of infrastructure which collects sewage from Omagh Town. They couldn’t quite believe what they found and it took hours to break up and finally dislodge, not to mention the cost!

“Rogue discharges like this are found around building sites where the remains of concrete are washed down into the drainage system. This is typical of material getting into our sewers from new building works and developments. Combined with brick bats, stones and inappropriate rags it can be a real pain to get removed and a very expensive piece of maintenance work.

This act shows not only lack of respect for our network but also for the people living in the area. NI Water would remind all customers that opening a manhole or washing substances into the drainage system is prohibited. By doing this, you are obstructing a working sewer which is designed to take waste away from homes.

By obstructing the sewer in this way, it reduces the pipe capacity and the volume of waste it is able to take; this can lead to increased blockages and out of sewer flooding in the street or into a river. Out of sewer flooding is extremely unpleasant and affects the whole community and damages the environment. We have all seen the disgusting effects of an overflowing manhole in the street and no one wants to see or smell it (not even us!) but the reality is, it happens regularly at a cost of millions to NI Water each year.”

This find follows washed up potatoes and carrots at a sewage works in L/Derry this week.

Anthony continues “We all have the power to stop this;

  1. Only flush the 3P’s, pee, poo and Paper – everything else goes in the bin
  2. Do not pour fat, oil and grease down the sink and
  3. Do not place anything down a manhole or wash substances into the drainage system.

“In the last ten years, NI Water has spent over £1.5 billion investing in water and wastewater infrastructure but no amount of investment will completely stop blocked pipes if people continue misuse the sewerage system.”

Visit to view the damage inappropriate items can have on the sewerage network.


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