Belfast Telegraph

Massive 'concreteberg' found in Northern Ireland sewer

The 'concreteberg'
The 'concreteberg'

NI Water staff have removed a 30ft long, half tonne 'concreteberg' from a sewer in Co Tyrone.

The block, enough to build a small garden wall, was discovered in Omagh.

NI Water are in the process of cleaning the Omagh Inner Trunk Sewer, located on the banks of the River Strule

Anthony McGirr, Wastewater Manager for the area said it was a unique discovery.

“We are used to tackling fatbergs and other inappropriate items in our sewers but this is a ‘solid’ find," he said.

They couldn’t quite believe what they found and it took hours to break up and finally dislodge, not to mention the cost!

“Rogue discharges like this are found around building sites where the remains of concrete are washed down into the drainage system. This is typical of material getting into our sewers from new building works and developments.

"Combined with brick bats, 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 could have disgusting consequences.

“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," he said.

NI Water staff at the scene.
NI Water staff at the scene.

“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.”

NI Water's advice is:

1. Only flush the 3Ps, pee, poo and Paper – everything else goes in the bin

2. Do not pour fat, oil and grease down the sink and

3. Do not place anything down a manhole or wash substances into the drainage system.

“In the last ten years, NI Water has spent over £1.5 billion investing in water and wastewater infrastructure but no amount of investment will completely stop blocked pipes if people continue to misuse the sewerage system," Mr McGirr said.

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