Partners against Pollution– Environmental Stakeholders Working Together
28 November 2014 15:01
The second Partners against Pollution forum was held recently at NI Water's Training Centre in Antrim. The forum is an initiative by NI Water to try to reduce the number of pollution incidents from its sewerage system and seeks to bring together organisations and policy makers who care about the environment to see how we can work together to reduce pollution.
This follow-up event was organised to discuss key learnings and action points from last year’s forum and to continue to seek ways for local government and agencies to continue working together to combat widespread abuse of the sewerage system in Northern Ireland, helping to reduce pollution on the Northern Ireland coastline.
Angela Halpenny, NI Water’s Head of Environmental Regulation comments: “NI Water has invested heavily in improving the compliance from Wastewater Treatment Works in order to reduce the number of pollution incidents we cause and we are now looking to work in partnership with other environmental stakeholders and policy holders to help reduce these incidents further.
“About 75% of NI Water’s pollution incidents come from the sewerage system. Of these incidents about three quarters are caused by inappropriate items being put in to the sewers. NI Water has branded these items the Dirty Dozen. The ‘Dirty Dozen’ are the twelve most common items the public flush and dump down our sewers. The ring leader is the innocent looking Baby Wipe, closely followed by Sanitary Towel. These ordinary household items head a gang of everyday products that cause mayhem with the sewer system when flushed down the toilet or dumped in the sewers.
The consequences of Fats Oils and Grease are also a major problem for the sewer network and with Christmas fast approaching, NI Water is urging its customers to dispose of fat, oil and grease left over from mealtimes correctly and not to pour them down the sink. Each year, many people still continue to tip fat, oil and grease down the sink which has disastrous effects on both our drains and finances. As fat, oil and grease cools, it solidifies and creates blockages in the sewerage system, which often results in out of sewer flooding.
“We already clear about 18,300 blockages from our sewers each year at a cost of approximately £2.5m, but this does not include the cost to the environment and of NI Water staff.
“We now need a change of culture to stop the majority of pollution incidents caused by how the sewers are used. We are seeking help from all stakeholders, businesses and the public to change the culture of how we use our toilets and sewerage system, in order to prevent pollution”