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We’re ‘mortar-fied’ by what people put in our sewers!

18 June 2013 10:53

What really lurks in the sewers beneath our homes and business premises?  The answer is everything from nappies to cotton buds, baby wipes and builders’ mortar spread over 60 metres length of sewer in South Belfast’s Annadale Crescent!

Each year, NI Water retrieves millions of waste items from the sewerage network that shouldn’t be there – some of the more bizarre items recovered include a car driving shaft and four scaffolding props.  Flushing items that should be binned will result in a blockage and, ultimately, out of sewer flooding.

Gary Little, NI Water’s Customer Manager for the area said:

“Wastewater drains that run from residential houses are only four inches wide and are designed to remove human waste and toilet roll only.  Blockages are caused when other rubbish is flushed down the toilet or dumped into the sewers.  

“Blockages in the sewers not only cause problems for individual homes and businesses but also have an effect on the overall system.  During heavy rainfall, the flow in sewers increases hundreds of times.  Unfortunately if sanitary waste has been flushed it can escape, polluting rivers and beaches.  This causes a health hazard, harms wildlife and is unsightly to look at.

“The advice is simple: bin it and don’t flush it.  Working together we can ensure that the environment stays in a pristine condition that we can all enjoy.”

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.  

Items that should be ‘bagged and binned’ are:

•    Sanitary items – towels, tampons, applicators, panty liners, backing strips etc.
•    Disposable nappies, liners and baby wipes
•    All wipes – including baby, bathroom and toilet
•    Kitchen roll and household paper towels
•    Condoms
•    Toilet roll cardboard tubes
•    Cotton buds, cotton wool
•    Razors and toothbrushes
•    Contact lenses
•    Incontinence pads
•    Colostomy bags
•    Bandages and dressings
•    Syringes and needles
•    Medicines


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