Water authority laments cost of kitchen grease

A North East water authority is calling on kitchen operators to dispose of fats, oils and grease (FOG) correctly due to the high costs associated with clearing blocked drains.

Northumbrian Water spent more than £145,000 clearing 2,000 blockages last year, with greasy liquids such as cooking oil, butter, meat fats and sauces the cause of the problem after being poured down sinks or drains.

The organisation is this week teaming up with food outlets around the region to highlight the damage that can be caused by discharging oil or fat down sinks or drains.

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It has even launched a dedicated website designed to help businesses dispose of kitchen grease correctly.

“Blocked drains can lead to odours or flooding around premises and owners often have no choice but to close down while the sewers are inspected and appropriately remedied,” said Greg Lee, technical advisor at Northumbrian Water.

“We are hoping our simple advice will help to reduce the number of blockages, threat of flooding and unwanted publicity for food outlets in the North East.”

The authority is advising kitchen owners to arrange for waste fat, oil and grease to be taken away by a waste carrier registered with the Environment Agency. It said the carrier should provide a Waste Transfer Note with every collection.

The authority’s website also tells caterers that while food waste macerators provide an easy means of disposing of food waste into drains and sewers, it "discourages" their use.

“Food waste macerators increase the risk of blockages, sewer flooding, environmental pollution and odours,” it said.

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