NI Water is appealing to customers in the Ballymoney area to bag and bin their bathroom rubbish such as wipes and sanitary items after they have surfaced in the Ballymoney River.
NI Water’s Wastewater Area Manager, John Bell explains: “Wastewater assets are designed to discharge storm water into Rivers during heavy rainfall to stop waste coming back up through the toilet in customer’s homes and or through manholes in the street.
“The water discharging from a storm overflow pipe is mostly rain water mixed with some amounts of sewage however this is usually well diluted. Overflows arise during prolonged periods of heavy rainfall. The problem we find here is when bathroom waste such as wipes and sanitary items are flushed down the toilet, they can escape through the screens at the treatment works and also end up in the River.
“There is a very simple solution, if those items are not flushed then they can’t end up in the environment so we are appealing to customers in the area to please only flush the 3p’s, pee, poo and toilet paper; everything else needs to go in the bin.
“In the last ten years, we have spent over £1.5 billion investing in water and wastewater infrastructure, but no amount of investment will completely stop blocked pipes or these items polluting our environment if people continue to flush wipes (including flushable), sanitary items and cotton buds down the toilet.”
NI Water has been liaising with NIEA on the matter. Kevin McGrady DAERA NIEA Emergency Pollution Officer comments:
“The sewerage systems serving our towns and cities in NI, can suffer greatly from inappropriate use, such as the flushing of sanitary items, wipes, disposable nappies, cotton buds etc. As John Bell from NI Water says, large volumes of these items can act to overwhelm or block screens at wastewater treatment works, leading to some of this debris being discharged to our rivers and beaches. Such items can even block the sewers themselves causing polluting discharges to occur. These overflows can impact directly on our water quality and can also have a negative impact on the aesthetic quality of our environment.
“A significant number of pollution discharges that occur each year relate to blockages of the sewerage system and this is an issue that is easily and completely avoidable if we all stick to the ‘3 Ps’ and we think first before flushing anything else. NIEA is fully supportive of NI Water’s ‘3Ps’ campaign which is acting to change behaviour and bring environmental improvement.”
Visit www.niwater.com/bag-it-and-bin-it/ for further information