Beware fats and grease which could send your Christmas down the drain
PUBLISHED: 11:31 26 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 11 May 2010
Tipping left over fat and grease from the Christmas turkey down the drain could give you an unwanted festive nightmare. The Consumer council for water has advised customers to think twice before dumping fat, oil or grease down the drain. Tony Smith, Chie
Tipping left over fat and grease from the Christmas turkey down the drain could give you an unwanted festive nightmare.
The Consumer council for water has advised customers to think twice before dumping fat, oil or grease down the drain.
Tony Smith, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water, said: "Having your home flooded with sewage is very unpleasant and companies should provide the best customer service possible to prevent it from happening in the first place. Consumers have a role to play too by disposing of fat, oil and grease responsibly, especially at Christmas.
"The cost of having your own drains unblocked can be quite expensive, and if the public sewers are blocked, the sewerage companies' costs in removing blockages get passed on to customers via sewerage bills," he said.
It is all too easy to simply rinse the fat and oil from greasy pots and pans down the sink with soap and hot water, but as the fat cools it will thicken again, building up a gooey gunge that could cause a blockage and eventually cause wastewater and even sewage to back up.
There are around 200,000 sewer blockages throughout the UK every year, and three quarters of them are caused by fats, oil and grease clogging up pipes. Clearing these blockages costs millions of pounds a year; costs which are passed onto customers in their annual sewerage bills.
Fat, oil and grease should be poured into an empty container with a lid or wiped out of the tray with kitchen roll and put in the bin. Most water and sewerage companies provide 'fat traps' free of charge to collect kitchen waste which can then be thrown away.
The costs of pouring fats, oils and grease down the drain can quickly add up for companies and customers. Any drains or private sewers that carry waste away from the home are the customer or landlord's responsibility, as is the cost of clearing any private blockages, both inside and outside the property boundary until the point where they connect with the public sewers.
The sewerage company is only responsible for public sewers. In most cases these are in roads or public open spaces but in certain circumstances they may run through private gardens.
If a blockage in the public sewer leads to sewage flooding a home or garden, water and sewerage companies should react quickly to clear up the mess, disinfect the property and provide compensation if appropriate as soon as possible.
More information about how to dispose of household waste appropriately is available at www.ccwater.org.uk, and can be found in a leaflet about the responsible disposal of waste from the Consumer Council for Water, which has been endorsed by Defra, the Environment Agency and Water UK.