NI Water to ‘Flush Out’ Blockage Hotspots

Friday 10th January 2020

NI Water has waged a war against blockages and is ‘flushing’ out the worst offenders in Northern Ireland.

Mayor Bill Keery with NI Water's Carson Smylie

The company has identified the top 20 blockage ‘hotspots’ and how much they cost. Overall, these areas have seen over 20,000 blockages in the last two years costing the company approximately £5m!

NI Water’s Head of Environmental Regulation, Angela Halpenny explains, “NI Water fights a daily battle with blocked sewers and this time we are ‘flushing’ out the worst offenders in a bid to reduce blockages.  

“The main cause of blocked sewers and out of sewer flooding is the flushing of inappropriate items such as baby wipes, cotton buds and sanitary products. This means they are completely avoidable if everyone would adopt a simple habit of binning everything other than the three Ps - pee, poo and paper. 

“We are targeting our worst offending areas with an awareness campaign so if you find your town on the list, look out for our ‘blocked pipes flood homes’ adverts and see how we all have the power to stop it.”

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery, said, “Ards and North Down Borough Council is backing NI Water in this campaign. NI Water has responsibility for the sewerage system but we are all responsible for what we flush and the impact this can have on the environment. Blocked pipes can result in out-of-sewer flooding in the community in which we share, not to mention rivers and even beaches. We can all help in this battle by following NI Water’s advice and adopt positive flushing habits. Remember to bin it, don’t flush it.”

“We have all seen the disgusting effects of an overflowing manhole in the street or worse, an overflowing toilet in a home. In the last 10 years, we have 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 flush wipes (including ‘flushable’ wipes), sanitary items and cotton buds down the toilet.”

Top Offenders of Blocked Pipes:

(Hotspots / No. of Blockages / Items Found)

Belfast: 7,000 (Toys, black rubbish bags, brush, rocks.)
L/Derry: 3,000 (Building material, potatoes and carrots, fatbergs.)
Newtownabbey: 1,400 (Building material, a wet wipe monster.)
Lisburn: 1,000 (Bricks, rags, fatbergs, bicycles, car wheels, boulders, polythene sheeting.)
Lurgan: 1,000 (Fatbergs, Wooden Planks, Traffic cones, Cement Wash Layers.)
Newry: 1,000 (Skateboard, Bricks, stones, building materials.)
Ballymena: 900 (Toys, plastic bottles footballs, timber plumbing fittings roof tiles screw drivers Sewer rods and cement wash, rags.)
Enniskillen: 800 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds)
Newtownards: 800 (Bricks, wood, metal poles)
Carrickfergus: 800 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Coleraine: 650 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Antrim: 650 (Baby car seat, bricks,  Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Limavady: 500 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Larne: 400 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Donaghadee: 200 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Dromore: 180 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Coalisland: 170 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Portrush: 160 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Portstewart: 150 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)
Saintfield: 80 (Fatbergs, rags, cotton buds.)

For further information, visit niwater.com/bag-it-and-bin-it.