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Stop and Think – Not Down the Sink

22 April 2011 10:53

Northern Ireland Water (NI Water) is appealing to its customers to consider the affects of pouring fat, oil and grease down the sink from their roast dinners this Easter.

Fat, oil and grease are often poured down the sink, causing major problems for NI Water. As fat, oil and grease cools, it solidifies; creating blockages in the sewerage system, which often results in out of sewer flooding. Last year, NI Water spent nearly £2 million clearing blocked drains and cleaning-up the areas affected.

Des Nevin, NI Water’s Head of Networks Sewerage said:

“Easter is a popular time for friends and families to get together, often to enjoy a roast dinner. While the meal may be planned with meticulous detail, little attention is paid to what we put down the sink. When fat, oil and grease solidifies in the sewers it prevents wastewater flowing through the pipe, and often causes a blockage.

“Fat, oil and grease in its liquid form may not look harmful, but once in the drains, it is. Even when hot water or soap is poured down the sink – the fat, oil and grease will still harden. Detergents and bleach may also appear to work, but this is only temporary. Each year we spend valuable resources fixing avoidable problems.

“When a drain becomes blocked and overflows, the consequences can be devastating. We can all play a part in maintaining the sewerage infrastructure from restaurants, pubs and hotels right through to home owners and industrial outlets.”

One way to dispose of fat, oil and grease is to let it cool and solidify, and then scrape it into the rubbish bin, or alternatively it can be poured into a suitable container and taken to a Council Recycling Centre. Plates, pots, trays and utensils should be scraped and dry wiped before washing.

Additional information on disposing of fat, oil and grease and a booklet specifically for catering outlets can be found at You can also view first hand the damage FOG can do to a sewer by visiting our Youtube page

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