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DIY Dreams Flushed Down the Drain in Ards

03 July 2013 12:49

When you next flush your toilet, spare a thought for some residents in Newtownards, who were the victims of an unfortunate DIY disaster!  Recent sewer investigations in the Abbott’s Walk area of the town uncovered not only cotton buds, nappies and baby wipes, but sewer rods which someone obviously lost while attempting to unlock the drain!   

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 have included a car driving shaft and four scaffolding props.  We also uncover sewer rods as evidence of failed DIY attempts to clear a blockage.  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.  

We understand why people try to clear sewer blockages themselves, but we would encourage them not to attempt this.  More often than not, these DIY attempts go wrong, resulting in the sewers they are attempting to clear becoming even more blocked.  In extreme cases, there can be issues of personal safety involved too.  

“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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