Massive 'fatberg' clogs up Belfast drainage system
A massive 'fatberg' of fat, oil and grease has been taken from a sewer below the 'golden mile' in south Belfast.
Staff from Northern Ireland Water have been at the site for the past six Sundays but there is even more mess to extract and it's costing the Belfast ratepayers thousands of pounds.
A large number of takeaways are located along the Dublin Road, but not everyone is disposing of their waste fat as they should which has resulted in the fatberg.
Gavin McCready, networks sewerage manager for Northern Ireland Water, warned there could be even more trouble ahead.
He explained: "The Dublin Road houses a number of fast food outlets, therefore the problem of fat, oil and grease in the sewers is significant in this area.
"While most businesses use grease traps and bin their waste correctly, those that don't are contributing to a massive fatberg in the sewers around the area.
"Businesses also risk blocking their own drainage systems, which results in extra costs being incurred in clean-up efforts.
"These fat blockages can not only result in out of sewer flooding, but odour problems and the risk of rat infestations both near and beyond your premises."
Over the past two years more than £5m has been spent on unblocking sewers - money that Green Party councillor Georgina Milne said could have been saved.
She said: "We all need to take responsibility for our waste. We pour it down the sink and forget about it but it comes back to bite us.
"It is disgusting what the staff at NI Water are taking out of this sewer and you have to wonder if our infrastructure can cope with it.
"There is remediation work being done on the Newtownards Road at the minute to help alleviate flooding problems and I just wonder if our sewers can cope with this amount of waste and this amount of work being done on them. I'm not sure."
SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said people need to be aware of the consequences of not disposing of fat, oil and grease in the correct manner.
He added: "There is an issue of enforcement here and we need to see if there is a way in which we can identify which businesses are not disposing of waste correctly."