Monday 16 September 2019

Baby wipes pour out of overflowing sewer

Mary Fogarty

Hundreds of baby wipes have been flushed onto the banks of the river Dargle following a sewer overflow during heavy rain.

The wipes are lodged in the greenery along the Dargle Walk, on the north side of the river going towards the harbour.

Cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District, Cllr Steven Matthews, said that the sewer had topped in that location following the deluge on Thursday night.

'I've been on to Irish Water to ask them to clean the area up as the sewage network is the responsibility of Irish Water,' said Cllr Matthews.

He said that this incident highlights the problem of putting baby wipes and hygiene wipes down the toilet.

'They don't break down and clog up the system,' said Cllr Matthews. 'Irish Water are running a campaign on what not to put in the toilet.'

According to Irish Water, flushing wet wipes is one of the leading causes of blocked pipes in Ireland. Domestic pipes are not designed to carry such waste, with items often clumping together causing blockages or ending up on beaches or, as in this case, on riverbanks.

District administrator David Forde said that Bray Municipal District has also reported the matter to Irish Water and requested that they urgently carry out a clean-up of the area in the interest of public health.

Irish Water said in a statement that they were aware of the incident and, in partnership with Wicklow County Council, are undertaking cleaning works in the area to remove the wipes and other litter.

'When the 3 Ps (pee, poo and paper) are flushed down the toilet they travel along the sewer network to wastewater treatment plants,' they said. 'However, every day people flush thousands of items such as wet wipes, cotton bud sticks, nappies and cotton wool pads down the toilet instead of putting them in a bin. This causes blockages in wastewater systems and sewer overflows leading to pollution and plastic litter in the environment. Irish Water removes over 100 sewer blockages every day around Ireland.'

Irish Water encourages the public to report any wastewater issues they witness by calling 1850 278 278 or on Twitter @IWCare.

Bray People