CORK City Council has had to replace water systems across the city due to locals disposing of cooking oils and nonbiodegradable materials down drains and toilets.
This system upgrade is estimated to cost over €35,000 and will contain new equipment to help deal with the incorrect disposal of these substances.
“We’ve seen anything from condoms to plastic bags and wet wipes being flushed down the toilet and ending up in our water systems,” City Council Engineer Simon Lyons said.
Disposing of these items incorrectly has led to the continuous break down of the city’s water pump systems.
“What happens when all that stuff gets to the pump station? The pumps can’t handle it, everything breaks down and overflows.” Overwhelming the water system with materials that it can’t break down, can be detrimental for the environment.
“If we didn’t have storage tanks for when this happens, everything would flow into the rivers. Luckily, we have storage tanks here but in other areas there aren’t so the outcome is a lot worse.”
Engineer Simon Lyons revealed that the incorrect disposal of items like plastics, sanitary products and cooking fats from just 200 homes is enough to cause the system’s storage tanks to overflow.
“You can’t blame big restaurants and chippers for the results in these pictures as this is just from residential households alone.” He urges Cork people to adhere to the ‘Think Before You Pour’ and ‘Only Flush The Three P’s – poo, pee and paper’ initiatives in partnership with Irish Water and Clean Coasts.
“In the absence of people continuing to ignore our message, this new electrical system has high speed pumps. We have invested in intelligence in the pump system so the pumps will run daily programmes to clean itself and help with the repairs when this happens.”
Lyons suggests that each household should put a bin in place in their bathrooms and take away the “temptation to flush the cotton buds, sanitary towels and babywipes.” He recommends households to install a ‘gunk pot’ beside sinks in their kitchens to fill with excess oil.
“We’re not trying to stop people having their chips or fry-ups at the weekend, we just ask that instead of washing oil from your frying pans down the sink, wipe the pan with kitchen paper and put it in the bin,” he said.
For more information on how to change your flushing and pouring habits, see cleancoasts.org.