Image of Keep It Clear frying pan

Anglian Water is urging homeowners across the region to make some small changes this Christmas to help prevent sewers and drains becoming blocked, which lead to nasty smells, or worse still, flooding.

Cooking fats, oils and greases washed down the plughole are responsible for thousands of avoidable sewer blockages each year – a problem which is worse at Christmas when roasting turkeys and the trimmings will see around 250 tonnes of left over fat enter the drains.

The fats slide easily down the sink when warm but quickly cool and harden, coating the walls of the sewers and creating giant ‘fatbergs’ underground. These then bind together with all the other items, such as wipes, nappies and sanitary products, which shouldn’t be flushed in the first place.

The rock-hard ‘fatbergs’ that form can cause sewers to back up and overflow, flooding homes and gardens or damaging the local environment.

Rachel Dyson, Keep It Clear Programme Manager for Anglian Water said: “Christmas is one of our busiest times of the year. We have hundreds of staff across the region working over the holidays to help clear blockages and prevent flooding.

“A blocked sink, toilet or drain is horrible at any time of year, but the extra cost and hassle is especially unwelcome for homes during the holidays – a problem which is made worse when the blockage is entirely avoidable.

“Yet a big rise in the number of blockages caused by fat, oil and grease is exactly what we see at this time of year. The result is often bad smells or worse, sewage backing up in homes and gardens.

“It doesn’t make for a very merry Christmas.”

More than half of the 35,000 blockages Anglian Water clears each year are caused in this way and cost the company over £7 million a year to put right.

Rachel continued: “We’re asking customers to work with us to trim the fat that finds its way into our sewer network this Christmas.

“By following a few simple steps we can reduce the chance of blockages and prevent this unpleasant and often expensive problem affecting our holidays.

“It really doesn’t take much: let fat in baking trays cool before scraping it, and any food leftovers, into the bin; and give your crockery, pans and tins a quick wipe with kitchen towel before loading the dishwasher or doing the washing up to remove greases.

“They might be small changes, but if we all do our bit it will make a big difference to the drains and help prevent your or your neighbours’ sewers from blocking – so the only leftovers you see are the ones you want.”

Anglian Water is also urging customers and businesses to join its Keep it Clear campaign and help stop these nasty blockages all year round. Customers can order a free sink strainer to stop scraps going down the plughole and get lots of extra tips to avoid sewer problems by visiting

Customers are also reminded to call Anglian Water on 03457 145145 if they’re experiencing any problems with their drains or see signs of flooding.