South West Water is asking Christmas cooks and home chefs to gift the region’s sewers a fat-free Christmas this year by preventing fats, oils and greases from being poured down drains.
Working alongside Environmental Compliance and Services (ECAS), the company has been supporting food businesses across Devon and Cornwall as they prepare millions of meals for the festive season.
Last year, South West Water dealt with over 7,000 blocked sewers with over 20% of these caused by fats, oils and greases being poured down drains. When these substances enter sewers they combine with wet wipes, cooling and hardening into a solid mass which can clog up pipes. If left unchecked, the blockages can cause the waste to back up into homes and communities, causing sewer floods.
Andrew Blake, Project Manager at South West Water, said: “The Christmas season can be challenging for our sewers due to the increased fat and food waste generated by food businesses and households accommodating more guests.”
While we want everyone to enjoy themselves, we also want to encourage kitchen staff and householders to be mindful of what they’re putting down their drains. It’s important to ensure that festive roasting juices, gravies, sauces, and creams are not being poured into the sewers. By changing your practices, you can easily help prevent blockages and avoid damage to properties, sewers and the environment.”
One restaurant that’s helping the sewers go fat-free this Christmas is Toby Carvery Exeter. Its team is one of 1,300 food businesses working with ECAS in the South West to responsibly dispose of fats, oils and greases.
Marc Downes, Operational Performance Manager at ECAS, said: “Toby Carvery Exeter previously invested in a system to stop their fat, oil, and grease from entering the sewers, but it wasn’t performing as well as it should have been.“
They have since worked closely with us and now have new grease-trapping equipment in place, just in time for the busy Christmas period. We’ve also been showing them how to maintain their grease-trapping equipment regularly so it’s as effective as possible.“
“I’d like to thank the team for positively collaborating with us and doing everything they can to help protect the sewers and the environment.”
Krystian Westerlich, General Manager at Toby Carvery Exeter,said: “My team and I are very supportive of anything that helps to prevent blockages, especially at Christmas as it’s our busiest time so we really don’t want anything to put a stop to the festivities.”
“You’d be amazed how much fat, oil, and grease a grease trap can collect that would otherwise end up in the sewers. I’d encourage other local food businesses to work with South West Water to see if there’s anything more they can do to help protect our communities and the local environment.”
Fats, oils and greases are not only a problem for businesses, and South West Water is urging all customers to avoid pouring them down their drains with these top tips:
Blockage-busting tips for busy Christmas cooks:
- Allow used cooking oil to cool down and store it safely in a sealed container away from the drains. If you’re a food business, arrange for it to be collected by a registered waste carrier who may buy it from you to recycle into biofuel.
- Dry-wipe dirty pots, pans, plates, and cutlery into a bin before rinsing them under a running tap or putting them into the dishwasher. That way, residual grease won’t get washed down your drains.
- Use a sink strainer to collect food debris so it doesn’t escape down the plughole.
- Avoid sweeping rubbish that’s accumulated on your kitchen floor into floor drains. Instead, use a dustpan and brush and pop it in the bin.
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