Have a festive and fat free Christmas

The Consumer Council for Water has some words of warning about the dangers turkey fat could pose to your pipes this Christmas.

Tipping left over fat and grease from the Christmas turkey down the kitchen sink or toilet could cause some unwelcome woes this holiday, and people might want 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 water companies should provide the best customer service possible to prevent it from happening in the first place. Everyone has a role to play too by disposing of fat, oil and grease responsibly, especially at Christmas.”

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 to a level that could cause a blockage and eventually cause wastewater and even sewage to back up.

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.

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.

The costs of pouring fats, oils and grease down the drain can quickly add up for companies and customers.

Sewer flooding facts

  • Drains from the home are normally no wider than four inches (100mm).
  • If you find it difficult to flush your toilet or notice that water begins to drain away slowly or bubbles come from the bottom of your toilet, contact your sewerage company and clearly explain the symptoms. Do not try to flush the toilet again as this could cause internal flooding.
  • If the problem is due to a blockage or fault in your private drain, you will need to hire a drainage contractor to clear the blockage or repair it. Sewerage companies are only responsible for unblocking and maintaining public sewers.
  • If sewage has entered your property from a public sewer, the company will send someone to visit you as soon as possible and help clean your property.
  • You are entitled to a rebate of your annual sewerage bill (up to £1000) to cover damages to the inside of your property caused by flooding of a public sewer.
  • Don’t forget to check to see if your household insurance covers sewer flooding.

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