fats causing blocked drains

Nobody wants to deal with a blocked sewer at Christmas, but that’s exactly what could happen if the fat from Christmas lunches is poured down the plughole! 

That’s why Anglian Water is asking Christmas cooks this year to stop those warm fats and oils to escape down the sink. When fat is poured into the sink it appears to drain away easily, however once this hits the cold pipes this fat will quickly cool down and harden against the wall of the sewer, possibly leading to blockages. Nobody wants to put their homes and gardens at increased risk of sewer flooding at this festive time of year.

There have been many occasions throughout the year where fats have caused such blockages. In the centre of Cambridge roads had to be closed to clear fat blocking the sewer system, and in Bedfordshire so much fat clogged the sewer that it took several days to clean. An ultra high powered jet had to be mounted on a remote controlled robot, sourced all the way from Holland, in order to battle this blockage. This adds £15million onto customer’s bills every year; worse still if fat blocks up house pipes then homeowners have to foot the bill - an unnecessary extra cost at Christmas.

In 2016, Anglian Water cleared 43,000 blockages from the region’s pipes - 80% of these blockages are completely avoidable as caused by fats and wipes in system. The severity of the issue is heightened at Christmas. With around a million turkeys expected to be roasted in the East of England, which will produce over 250 tonnes of fat, there is potentially a risk of large build up in pipes. This amount of fat is equivalent to one million blocks of butter, if put down the sink may block drains at Christmas.

Our Keep It Clear campaign team have been busy raising awareness about pipe blockages at community events, in schools, in the media and on both Facebook and Twitter.

Anglian Water’s Emma Staples said: “The average turkey produces ¾ of a pint of fat when cooked at Christmas lunch. The fat which comes from a Turkey and Goose is best placed crisping up those roast potatoes on Christmas Day, rather than down the sink.

“The fats which get into the pipes causes major headache for both our workforce and customers. Roughly 20,000 tonnes of fats and oils find their way into our region’s sewers yearly which causes us blockages and ultimately lead to sewage spills. As a result of this, customers are left with the repair bill and inconvenience - not the surprise Christmas gift you were hoping for.”

Anglian Water is advising its millions of customers who will be cooking Christmas Lunch this year to let fat cool down before scraping into a bin or composter. Doing so will allow customers, staff and pipes to have a fat-free Christmas, saving everyone the inconvenience and cost of blockages and sewage spills.