Northern Ireland Water (NI Water) has released stomach-churning footage of a "fatberg" which gathered in Belfast sewers because fast-food restaurants weren't properly disposing of their fat, oil and grease (FOG).

The water company underwent the "massive" project on Dublin Road to clear the huge clumps of fat which have accumulated as restaurants and locals in the area were pouring fat into the sewers rather than using grease traps and binning it.

Gavin McCready, networks sewerage manager explains, "The Dublin road houses a number of fast food outlets, therefore the problem of FOG in the sewers is significant in this area.

"While most businesses use grease traps and bin their waste correctly, those that don't are contributing to a massive fatberg in the sewers around the area.

"Our team has been on the site, working over a number of Sunday mornings, clearing the fat that has solidified. This is labour intensive work that can only be done early in the morning before the traffic builds up.

"We also recently discovered another fatberg on the Shankill Road which was so big, it rose to the top of the sewer and had been imprinted with the manhole."

NI Water said they have spent more than £5m clearing blockages from the sewer system, around 70%-80% of which were a result of fat, oil and grease build ups.

What can you do to help?

At Home

  • Dispose of food scraps in the bin before washing plates.
  • Collect waste oil in an airtight container.
  • Use a strainer in the sink plug hole to collect scraps. Empty scraps into the bin.

In Business ... all of the above plus

  • Arrange for oil to be collected by a licensed waste contractor.
  • Install a grease trap which separates the fat from the wastewater.
  • Use enzyme dosing systems with special bacteria to reduce the fat.

Source: NI Water