Belfast Telegraph

Shocked workers capture spooky image in Belfast's sewers

By Connla Young

A spooky spectre or just a trick of the light?

This grainy image — which bears a remarkable resemblance to the Phantom of the Opera — was recently captured by shocked Northern Ireland Water workers checking for blocked pipes in Belfast’s Newtownbreda district.

The surprised workmen couldn’t believe their eyes when a man’s face mysteriously appeared on their screens after they dropped a camera into a sewer pipe under Mealough Road.

And while water workers are used to coming across all kinds of weird and wonderful sights, they have been left scratching their heads by the ghost-like image they dubbed “Sewerface”.

However Field Manager Davy Sloan believes there’s a rational explanation for the image.

He said: “NI Water constantly finds inappropriate items dumped down the sewer. Items vary from nappies, wipes, sanitary products and cotton buds, which wash into pumping stations and block the pumps.

“They also block sewers which often causes internal and external flooding. This time however, the CCTV picked up a spooky face at the end of the tunnel. We think the image is a result of a combination of the bend in the sewer line and variations in light.

“Some of the guys have given our new spooky friend a few nicknames, Silver Surfer and The Phantom Pipe. However, Sewerface seemed more appropriate.” Last night Warren Coates from the Northern Ireland Paranormal Research Association also poured cold water on the prospect of ghostly goings on.

He said: “I think there’s a more natural explanation rather than paranormal. It may have something to do with methane gas and the light.”

And although the image has been put down as a trick of the light this time, Davy Sloan says people should be careful about what they flush away.

He said: “Although Sewerface didn’t cause a blockage, he was discovered while looking for one and the message remains that people need to be more responsible with the disposal of their bathroom waste.

“Whilst NI Water has a responsibility for the sewerage system, everyone in Northern Ireland has a duty to dispose of their waste appropriately.

“So, bin your cotton buds, baby wipes and sanitary items and watch out – Sewerface is watching what you flush.”


Some of the unusual items discovered in our sewers:

  • washing machine
  • baseball bat
  • child’s car seat
  • frozen jumper
  • mobile phones
  • engine parts
  • two seater sofa
  • bikes
  • families of frogs
  • Christmas trees
  • Winnie The Pooh toy
  • golf bag
  • house pets
  • and finally, a Red Renault Twingo with Jeremy |Clarkson in it. (He drove down a Belfast sewer for popular BBC programme Top Gear.)

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