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Bin That Christmas Dinner Fat, and Keep Our Sewers Clear

Published on: 22 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 23 Dec, 2020

Fatbergs can cause serious and expensive problems

Thames Water is urging customers to help fight the fatberg over the Christmas period by safely disposing of fats, oils and grease in bins, and not down the sink.

With millions of people set to feast on the traditional turkey dinner on December 25, the country’s largest water company has highlighted the importance of letting cooking fat cool before getting rid of it in the bin, rather than pouring it down the sink where it can congeal and form sewer-blocking fatbergs.

These underground behemoths are created when grease and oil combines with “unflushable” items such as wet-wipes, leading to huge, solid masses which are difficult to clear and can cause raw sewage to build up and flood homes, businesses and the environment.

Cllr James Steel

Cllr James Steel (Lib Dem, Westborough), lead for the Environment, said: “The campaign is a great initiative about how to safely dispose of fats, oils and grease to protect our environment, especially during the Christmas holidays.

“Our residents are passionate about the environment and where they live and are always good when it comes to disposing of their waste in the correct way.”

Thames Water regularly sees an increase in sewer blockages caused by fat and oil around Christmas time, which is believed to be due to the contents of turkey roast pans going down the sink along with leftover gravy and scraps.

Collect fat before it goes down the plug hole and adds to the fatberg problems.

Matt Rimmer, Thames Water’s head of waste networks, said: “Sewer blockages caused by fats, oils and grease being poured down the sink pose a massive problem, especially during the festive period.

“They risk raw sewage backing up into homes or businesses, which no one wants to see at Christmas, and cost millions of pounds to clear.

“Even if the oil or fat is in liquid form, it can still contribute to blockages. It’s also a myth that pouring washing-up liquid down with it will help: it doesn’t.

“We’d urge everyone to help by disposing of fat and oils in the bin, not the sink, as well as only flushing the 3Ps, pee, poo and paper.”

People are advised to collect fat in a container, such as a yoghurt pot or jam jar, and leave them to cool before scraping them in the bin. Wet-wipes, sanitary items, nappies and other toiletries should also be binned rather than flushed down the toilet.

On average, Thames Water spends £18 million every year clearing 75,000 blockages from its sewers, unclogging five house blockages and, every day, removing 30 tonnes of material from just one of its sewage treatment works.

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