Concreteberg jamming up 30 feet of pipeline is pulled from Tyrone sewer
A huge 'concreteberg' measuring an astonishing 30ft has been discovered in a sewer in Co Tyrone.
The block, large enough to build a small garden wall, required a team of NI Water employees to remove the half-tonne blockage from the Omagh inner trunk sewer, located on the banks of the River Strule.
Formed by concrete poured down drains, the discovery comes just days after a concreteberg the size of a blue whale and weighing 105 tonnes was uncovered in sewers in London.
Anthony McGirr of NI Water said it was a unique find for staff.
"We are used to tackling fatbergs and other inappropriate items in our sewers but this is a 'solid' find," he said.
He added that his team couldn't quite believe what they had found and it took them hours to break up and finally dislodge the obstruction in what was a costly operation.
"Rogue discharges like this are found around building sites where the remains of concrete are washed down into the drainage system," he explained.
"This is typical of material getting into our sewers from new building works and developments.
"Combined with brickbats, stones and inappropriate rags, it can be a real pain to get removed and a very expensive piece of maintenance work."
Mr McGirr said the dumping of such material could have extremely unpleasant consequences by causing sewage to back up.
"This act shows not only lack of respect for our network, but also for the people living in the area. NI Water would remind all customers that opening a manhole or washing substances into the drainage system is prohibited. By doing this you are obstructing a working sewer which is designed to take waste away from homes.
"By obstructing the sewer in this way, it reduces the pipe capacity and the volume of waste it is able to take; this can lead to increased blockages and out-of-sewer flooding in the street or into a river. Out-of-sewer flooding is extremely unpleasant and affects the whole community and damages the environment.
"We have all seen the disgusting effects of an overflowing manhole in the street and 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."