As people across Scotland prepare for Christmas and New Year dinners and festive fry-ups, Scottish Water is reminding them that over time, cooking fats, oils and grease poured down the sink or drain can build up and cause blockages, more commonly known as ‘fatbergs’, in drains and sewer pipes.
These prevent the waste water draining away properly and can cause extremely unpleasant internal sewage flooding or environmental pollution.
It is important that everyone knows their kitchen checklists and disposes of cooking fats, oils and grease responsibly - simply leave to cool, then scrape into a sealable container (like an empty jar) and either recycle or put in the bin.
Please check with your local council, waste/oil recycling site or waste contractor for information on how to recycle or dispose of used fat, oil and grease in your area.
Since Scottish Water’s Keep the cycle running campaign started two years ago, the number of blockages or sewer chokes has reduced by about 12% from 40,000 to 35,000 a year.
However, this means that there are still almost 100 per day across Scotland and we estimate that 80% of them are caused by people putting the wrong things down their sinks and toilets.
Chris Wallace, Scottish Water’s Director of Communications, said: “Our campaign is working and has contributed to a sizeable reduction in the number of blocked drains and sewers across Scotland. We thank customers who have responded to our campaign.
“However, this means there are still 35,000 blockages every year, most of which could be avoided if we all followed the advice in Scottish Water’s campaign and knew our kitchen and bathroom checklists. We’ve made great progress, with the help of our customers, but there is still a lot more that can be done to tackle this problem.
“The waste water drain which runs from your house to the public sewer is usually only about four inches wide, which is less than the diameter of a DVD.
“This drain is designed to take only the used water from sinks, showers and baths and pee, poo and toilet paper, the three p’s, from the toilet. Scottish Water believes the best way to tackle blocked drains and sewer flooding is to work with our customers to prevent blockages that can clog up the cycle in the first place.”
Fats, oil and grease in liquid form may not appear to be harmful but as it cools it congeals and hardens. This can then cause blockages to the inner lining of drainage pipes, which can lead to waste water flooding into gardens and properties, causing a health hazard to wildlife and the local environment. In extreme cases, blocked sewers can spill into burns, rivers, streams, coastal waters and beaches, causing environmental damage.
To see Scottish Water’s campaign TV adverts, visit Scottish Water’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/scottishwaterfilm or visit its website.
For more information from Scottish Water visit www.scottishwater.co.uk/cycle. Follow Scottish Water on Twitter @scottish_water and Facebook www.facebook.com/scottishwater.