February 15, 2012 3.03 pm This story is over 122 months old

Campaign to stop pouring fat down the drain

Fat busters: Anglian Water are trying to stop people tipping cooking oils and fat down their sink, which can cause blockages.

Anglian Water wants to stop Lincoln residents pouring cooking fat down plug holes, causing clogs and sewerage problems across the city.

In 2011, there were 175 blockages in Lincoln caused by fat. This year, the total is already looking likely to near 200.

Also, Anglian Water was fined £32,000 last year due to a sewer clogged with fat backing up and entering the Roaring Meg Drain in Lincoln.

After paying its fine, the water company decided to take steps to stop incidents like this happening again by tackling the cooking oil issue.

A campaign called Keep It Clear aims to raise awareness of pouring fat down the sink by speaking to residents and businesses.

Letters will also be sent to 3,000 people in particular areas of the city, requesting them to bin items like sanitary towels instead of attempt to flush them.

Plus, food businesses will be provided with a how-to pack, explaining how to dispose of fat, oil and food scraps effectively.

A demonstration will also be held at the Waterside Shopping Centre on February 18.

Anglian Water’s Director of Wastewater Paul Gibbs said: “What happened in the sewers under Searby Road last summer is a dramatic example of what can happen if the sewers get clogged up with fat and with items like wipes and sanitary products which are wrongly flushed down toilets.

“We were fined, rightly, because we had not done enough to keep sewage out of those surface water drains in the event of a blockage. That has been put right.

“But the cause of that blockage was fat and rags. If we are to prevent future pollutions, if we are to stop the blocks that cause sewage to back out of manholes and threaten people’s homes, gardens and businesses, then we have to tackle the root of the problem.

“That’s why we have chosen Lincoln for the next stage of our highly successful Keep It Clear campaign.”

Clearing blockages costs Anglian Water £7 million a year to clear, and across the region, around 7,500 of blockages are caused by fats and “unflushables”.

“Clearing sewer blockages costs a huge amount of time and money, which could be better spent on improving the services we provide to customers,” Paul added.

“By not putting things like food, fats and wipes down our sinks and loos, we can all help avoid blocked pipes, and the sewer flooding, pollution and bad smells that result.”

For tips on how to dispose of waste without causing blockages, visit the campaign’s advice page.

Source: Anglian Water | Photo: Chris Gunton