Fat Is Clogging Up The Heart Of The Westcountry
South West Water is launching a campaign to raise awareness of the problems caused by pouring fat, oil and grease down drains and sinks.
Once it has entered the sewer, fat and even olive oil, solidifies and causes blockages. In the past year, South West Water has dug approximately 3000 tonnes of fat, oil and grease out of it's sewers - the equivalent of 21 double decker buses.
Over the Christmas period South West Water estimates there could be a 25% increase of fat in sewers as people prepare their festive feasts, so this is the perfect time to start spreading the message.
South West Water is advising people to pour fat from pots, pans and roasting tins into a container to allow it to solidify before putting it in the bin. It also recommends wiping plates with kitchen roll before washing them up to avoid any food or fat going down the plug hole. You can also recycle cooking fat by mixing it with food scraps and dried fruits, allowing it to solidify and then hanging it outside for the birds.
In some cases clogged up sewers can cause sewer flooding where sewage spills into streets, gardens and homes. Blockages can also harm the environment by causing sewage to back up and pollute rivers, streams and watercourses.
John Perriam, Sewage Management Strategist, said: "Pouring cooking fat down the drain or sink can be a disaster any time of the year, not just Christmas.
We are working hard to tackle sewer flooding and have a responsibility to our bill paying customers to address this and other problems caused by blocked sewers which cost over £1 million a year to sort out. This advice is just one way customers can help tackle this issue, as well as protecting their own pipes from blockages."
He went on to say: "We have to deal with around 3000 blockages a year and up to 75% are caused by fat alone. Other items which clog up the sewers include sanitary products, nappies, cotton buds and needles. So make sure you think before you flush. Just because something appears to be washed away doesn't mean it won't cause problems further down the line."
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Notes to editors
Top Ten Fats Oils and Greases Found In Sewers
1. - Meat fats
2. - Lard
3. - Cooking oil
4. - Shortening
5. - Butter
6. - Margarine/Vegetable Spreads
7. - Food scraps
8. - Baking goods
9. - Sauces
10. - Dairy products
Published: 21 December 2006