Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with our frequent warnings about the problems caused by pouring fat, oil and grease, collectively known as FOG, down the sink.
According to Yorkshire Water, 20 per cent of sink blockages are caused by a build-up of congealed fat and grease. This short video shows just how easily a blocked pipe can lead to a flooded kitchen and damage to countertops, cupboards and flooring.
But it’s not just inside the home that pipes can get bunged up with FOG. Fat and grease can collect and solidify in pipes along any part of the system including the drains outside your home, and the network of sewers and drains in your neighbourhood. There’s also been examples of so-called fatbergs – the result of FOG amassing from hundreds of households – clogging up water treatment processes at city level.
For example, a 15-tonne ball of congealed fat found in south London sewers a few years ago almost caused raw sewage to spurt out of manholes across the area, according to Thames Water.
It’s all rather unpleasant but this problem does not just result in a damaged drain – it also takes a toll on our pockets.
Water UK, a membership organisation which represents water companies, calculates that water and sewerage companies across the country are called out to approximately 366,000 sewer blockages every year.
It says there are several hundred thousand more which occur in customers’ own pipework, for which they have to arrange clearance and repair. In some parts of the country three-quarters of these are caused by fats, oils and grease. The clean-up costs run to millions of pounds, costs which are ultimately passed on to customers through wastewater bills.
It’s clear – as long as we continue to pour FOG down the drains, we are doing the same with our money. Research from insurance company MORE TH>N Home Insurance, found that the damage caused by FOG to drains results in an average repair bill of £80, and that almost a quarter of households have had to pay for such repairs.
What can we do to help stop this?
Instead of pouring FOG down the sink and being part of a huge problem, let leftover fat and grease cool, then pour into a suitable container and put it in the bin.
Also, ensure you carry out regular drain maintenance to keep pipework clear. Used weekly, Buster’s Deep Foam Cleaner foam expands to fill the pipe dissolving debris, killing germs and eliminating odours for a thorough, deep down clean.