Belfast Telegraph

Blocked drains in Belfast cost around £800,000 a year to clear

NI Water has revealed the cost of clearing blockages built up in the country's drains.

Newly figures from the utility company show over the course of one year in the Belfast area there were 5,500 blockages costing around £800,000.

The new information comes as part of the long-running nationwide 'Bag it and Bin It' campaign, which urges customers to avoid flushing inappropriate material down the toilet.

NI Water’s Head of Wastewater, Stephanie McCullough explains, “We have all seen the disgusting effects of an overflowing manhole in the street or worse, an overflowing toilet in a home. Either way, no one wants to see or smell it (not even us!) but the reality is, it happens regularly at a cost of millions to NI Water each year."

In the past 10 years NI Water has spent more than £1.5bn investing in water and wastewater infrastructure.

NI Water is a fully Government-owned company, meaning the cost of clearing drains come out of the pocket of the taxpayer.

The most common items of domestic waste which cause issues are baby wipes, sanitary items and cotton buds.

Recent research from Water UK has found 93% of the material causing issues in the country's sewers had not been designed to be flushed.

Only 1% of blockages were found to be made up of items which were designed to be flushed - like toilet paper.

Costs of clearing drains were also high around other parts of Northern Ireland.

In the Lisburn area annually, an average of 1,000 blockages were cleared at a cost of around £150,000; in the Co Antrim area around 7,500 blockages were cleared annually at a cost of around £1.1m; and in the Dunmurray area around 850 blockages were cleared at a cost of around £130,000.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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