Every year thousands of litres of waste fat, oil and grease (FOG) are poured down the sinks by businesses and Food Service Establishments (FSE). This can lead to block pipes that can affect the water supply to your business, and even cause internal flooding.
Larger build-ups of FOG can amass in sewers and mix with other unflushables that don’t belong in the sewer network. The result is a fatberg. Unless discovered and dealt with, fatbergs can grow until they eventually cause major disruption to the operation of the sewer works.
The historic discovery of a 64-metre long fatberg beneath the streets of Sidmouth, Devon, made many people reassess the circumstances under which fatbergs can be created. Even in this relatively rural location, the wrong combination of FOG and unflushables combined to create a fatberg. This fatberg will take an estimated 8 weeks and millions of pounds to be removed.
Campaigns, such as South West Water’s #ThinkSink, have been created to help local people and businesses understand the importance of disposing of FOG correctly. Food scraps and cooled fats should be collected and disposed of into bins or preferably food waste recycling containers. A sink strainer can help prevent food scraps going down the sink and many sewage companies provides fat traps free of charge.
To further support the war against fatbergs, a new “Fine to Flush” symbol is now being introduced for wet wipes that have passed strict tests to ensure they will not contribute to sewer fatbergs. Manufacturers of wipes will be able to feature the official water industry logo on their packaging if their products pass the independent tests to prove they can be safely flushed down the toilet. This will let consumers know that the products do not contain plastic and will break down in the sewer system, instead of causing blockages and contributing to fatbergs.
No business wants their drains blocked or to find a fatberg under their premises. The resulting public expense, disruption and damage to local trade can be significant. The good news is your business can fight back against fatbergs. By limiting the amount of oils washed down the sink, and preventing unflushables from entering the sewers, the creation of fatbergs and risk of damage to your business can be significantly reduced.