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NI Water Appeal to Bangor Customers After ‘Wipe’ Out at Donaghadee Beach

25 May 2021 15:44

NI Water is appealing to customers in the Bangor and Donaghadee areas to bag and bin their bathroom rubbish such as wipes and sanitary items after historical seabed litter recently washed these items up along the coastline at Donaghadee.

The debris is thought to have reappeared with the tide, stirred up from the seabed after sitting there for some time.

NI Water’s Wastewater Network’s Area Manager, David Harris explains,

“After closer investigation of our wastewater assets and overflow pipes we know this debris hasn’t appeared as a result of recent operations but are items which have been flushed some time ago.  This is not the first time we have seen this debris washed up from the seabed and although we have completed a litter pick, the problem starts with what we all flush down the toilet. 

“Items such as wipes and sanitary items can unfortunately enter the sea when flushed down the toilet and are washed away with the tide, often settling on the sea bed. These items can remain there for a considerable time until weather conditions and sea swell cause them to be stirred from the seabed and wash up along our coastlines.

“However, such items ending up in the environment is completely avoidable if everyone adopts the simple habit of binning everything other than the three P’s, pee, poo and paper.  If we all make the change to our flushing habits, then incidents like this, and those where we see an overflowing manhole, can be avoided in the future.” 

NI Water has been liaising with NIEA on the matter. Kevin McGrady DAERA NIEA Emergency Pollution Officer comments,
“The sewerage systems serving our towns and cities in NI, can suffer greatly from inappropriate use, such as the flushing of sanitary items, wipes, disposable nappies, cotton buds etc. Large volumes of these items can act to overwhelm or block screens at wastewater treatment works, leading to some of this debris being discharged to our rivers and beaches.    

“Such inappropriate items can even block the sewers themselves causing polluting discharges to occur. These overflows can impact directly on our water quality and can also have a negative impact on the aesthetic quality of our environment.
“A significant number of pollution discharges that occur each year relate to blockages of the sewerage system and this is an issue that is easily and completely avoidable if we all stick to the ‘3 Ps’ and we think first before flushing anything else.   NIEA is fully supportive of NI Water’s ‘3Ps’ campaign which is acting to change behaviour and bring environmental improvement.”

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