Scots urged to help combat £7m cost of ‘fatbergs’

HOUSEHOLDERS are being urged not pour fat or oil down kitchen sinks after cooking their festive meals to prevent ‘fatbergs’ from blocking sewers.
Solidified fat in a sewer, otherwise known as a 'fatberg'. Picture: PASolidified fat in a sewer, otherwise known as a 'fatberg'. Picture: PA
Solidified fat in a sewer, otherwise known as a 'fatberg'. Picture: PA

Scottish Water said that congealed blocks of fat, oil and grease - known as ‘fatbergs’ – are to blame for more than 40,000 blockages in Scotland’s network of drains and sewers, costing more than £7 million.

While fatbergs are a problem throughout the year, the authority said they are a particular concern in the weeks over Christmas.

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It estimated that 80 per cent of blockages last year were caused by people putting the wrong things down their sinks and toilets.

Fatbergs can cause problems to pumping stations as well as result in flooding in households.

Paul Severin from Scottish Water said: “Once the congealed fat gets into the main sewers, it builds up along with wipes and other items and can cause serious blockages.


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“If the fat then gets into the pumps and the pumps fail, we can end up with a serious environmental issue with discharges into rivers or the sea.”

Chris Wallace, Scottish Water’s director of communications said: “We attended to over 40,000 blockages in Scotland’s drains and sewers last year, around 80 per cent of which were caused by people putting the wrong thing down their drains – cooking fat included.

He said fat traps provided by some supermarkets would help to lighten the load on the Scottish water system over Christmas and the New Year.

Across the UK, blocked drains rise by 25 per cent during the festive season, with more than 1,000 tonnes of leftover cooking fat poured down sinks - the equivalent weight of two million Christmas puddings.

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The official advice is to leave fat, oil and grease to cool, scrape it into a sealable container and put it in the bin.

The largest fatberg in the UK is said to be the size of a bus and was found in a sewer in London.



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