Northern Ireland

'Fatberg' cleared from Ormeau Road, Belfast, sewer

Waste fat
Image caption Fatbergs are caused by fats and greases mixing with waste such as baby wipes

A 'fatberg' clogging up a sewerage pipe under south Belfast's Ormeau Road has now been cleared.

The blockage, caused by fats and grease mixing with waste such as baby wipes, had been causing strong smells of sewage on the upper Ormeau Road.

Des Nevin, of the water service, said the fatberg was a build-up of inappropriate materials put into the sewer network.

"You get a mixture of rags and fats, oils and greases," he said.

"The fats, oils and greases tend to coagulate then mix along with the baby wipes and the sanitary products that get put down the sewers, and this then forms a ball that causes your blockage."

In August, a fatberg the size of a double-decker bus was found under the streets of south-west London.

Mr Nevin said the one in south Belfast was much smaller.

"The one that we're talking about here is not particularly large, but it's very much to do with the diameter of the sewer and indicative of the type of problems we would find in this diameter of pipework," he said.

"This is where problems are caused by inappropriate materials being put down the sewer network.

"The sewers can't cope and the sewers aren't designed to cope with it.

"This is about educating our customers and I don't believe our customers do this deliberately. I think it's just lack of knowledge in terms of what should go down the sewer."

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