Sewage woes force Belfast pensioner to use the toilet in Tesco
An east Belfast pensioner has spoken of his distress over a sewerage pipe problem so bad that he has had to travel a mile-and-a-half to a supermarket just to go to the toilet.
Noel Bell's home on the Old Holywood Road is one of a group of houses which have been coping with raw sewage flooding into their yards every time it rains.
The problem has been particularly bad over the last five weeks but Mr Bell (81) said it had been going on for more than a year.
The rain on Monday caused the latest sewage flooding with the filth bursting up to nine inches out of the drain.
Although it has not yet managed to get into his house, it often puts his toilet out of action.
On numerous occasions over the last six months the pensioner and his wife Anne have been forced to go to a supermarket a mile-and-a-half away just to use the toilets there.
"It is worse when it rains. On Monday the rain wasn't even that heavy yet the sewage was nine inches billowing up out of the drain," he said. "There is condoms and everything coming up.
"It has been particularly bad over the last five weeks, but has been going on for the last year-and-a-half.
"Every time rain is forecast we know we are in for it."
Yesterday afternoon pieces of toilet tissue were clearly visible among the foul discharge when the Belfast Telegraph visited the property on the Old Holywood Road.
Mr Bell said there was often much worse coming up the drain.
The house next door was also badly affected, while Alison Ruding (47) in the next house along described the situation as "horrendous".
She tried to use heavy plant pots to prevent the sewage coming up her drain pipes on Monday and described it coming up with such force it was as if they had exploded.
"Every time it pours the sewage comes up," she said.
"Yesterday there was toilet paper all over the road.
"Yesterday it was like they (the drains) all exploded and it all started coming up and we had to try and use plant pots to stop it.
"The other houses beside us were even worse."
A spokeswoman for Northern Ireland Water said large-scale desilting work was due to start on Tuesday morning.
"Northern Ireland Water is aware of an issue regarding a build-up of silt in the sewerage system on the Old Holywood Road," she said.
"Staff have been actively clearing this.
"However, large scale desilting work has been scheduled for Tuesday morning (February 18) to try and resolve this issue.
"NI Water will carry out a subsequent CCTV investigation to determine if there are any underlying problems."
The spokeswoman added: "NI Water would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers in the local area."