Northern Ireland news

30ft long, half tonne 'concreteberg' removed from Co Tyrone sewer

NI Water staff made the discovery during the cleaning of the Omagh Inner Trunk Sewer

A 30 foot long, half tonne 'concreteberg' - big enough to build a small garden wall - has been removed from a sewer in Co Tyrone.

Northern Ireland Water staff discovered the blockage during the cleaning of 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.

"Staff came across this concrete block as part of their four-week programme to clean this vital piece of infrastructure which collects sewage from Omagh Town.

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

NI Water staff made the discovery during the cleaning of the Omagh Inner Trunk Sewer

"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," he said.

"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.

NI Water staff made the discovery during the cleaning of the Omagh Inner Trunk Sewer

“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."

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