Northern Ireland

'Massive' fatberg in Newry takes five hours to clear

Fatberg Image copyright NI Water
Image caption The fatberg, at Newry's Buttercrane Quay, took five hours to clear

NI Water has said a "massive fatberg" in a Newry drain has taken them five hours to clear.

The blockage, at Buttercrane Quay, was caused by fat, oil and grease mixing with rubbish such as baby wipes and sanitary items.

NI Water said such blockages can cause out-of-sewer flooding, odour problems and rat infestations.

The company appealed to the public and businesses to dispose of fat, oil and grease properly.

"Fat, oil and grease in its liquid form may not look harmful, but it becomes a major problem once in our drains," NI Water's Jim McElrath said.

"Even when hot water or soap is poured down the sink - the fat, oil and grease will still harden. Detergents and bleach may also appear to work, but this is only temporary.

Image copyright NI Water
Image caption NI Water said it was caused by fat, oil and grease mixing with baby wipes and other such items

"Each year, NI Water spends valuable resources fixing avoidable problems."

He added: "We are doing our part by investing in the network, however, we will never win this battle alone; upgrading sewers will not stop blockages if the public are going to continue flushing inappropriate items such as wipes and disposing of fat, oil and grease down the drain."