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Responsible disposal of fats, oils and grease for homes and businesses

09 April 2019 10:40

Northern Ireland Water deals with thousands of sewer blockages every year, many of which are caused by fats, oils and grease (FOG) being poured down the sink. As our drains and sewers block, FOG can collectively contribute to a massive fatberg in the sewers in the surrounding area, leading to serious consequences for the environment.

As fats, oils and grease cool, they solidify and create blockages in the sewerage system. Mixing fats with wipes and other inappropriate items in the sewers causes fatbergs which can block the sewers; this results in out of sewer flooding, an unpleasant experience for everyone.

Angela Halpenny, NI Water’s Head of Environmental Regulation says, “When fats, oils and grease (FOG) solidifies in the sewers, it prevents wastewater flowing through the pipes and often causes blockages. FOG 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 fats, oil and grease will still harden. When a drain becomes blocked and overflows, the consequences can be devastating for the people impacted by the overflow and for the environment. We can all play a part in maintaining the sewerage infrastructure from restaurants, pubs and hotels right through to home owners and industrial outlets by stopping to think; fats, oils and grease don’t go down the sink.”

NI Water offers this advice to householders for the safe disposal of fats, oils and grease and food waste in the home:

  • Don’t put oil, fat or grease down the sink
  • Don’t pour oil, fat or grease down the drain
  • Don’t use boiling water to dissolve fat and grease
  • Let oil cool, bag it and then put it in the bin.
  • Alternatively, pour used oil into a disposable container and take it to your local oil bank.
  • Scrape plates and pots into the bin before washing in the sink
  • Use strainers in the sink plugholes

Advice for disposal of FOG for business

NI Water would appeal to all our customers, especially food outlets, to dispose of their FOG appropriately.

Angela Halpenny, NI Water’s Head of Environmental Regulation says, “Businesses who pour fats, oils and grease down the sink, risk blocking their own drainage systems, which results in extra costs being incurred in clean-up efforts. These fat blockages can not only result in out of sewer flooding and pollution of watercourses, but also odour problems and the risk of rat infestations both near and beyond your premises. Traders can be prosecuted for disposing of fats, oils and grease into the sewers.”

NI Water offers this advice to Businesses for the safe disposal of fats, oil and grease:

  • Don’t put oil, fat or grease down the sink
  • Don’t pour oil, fat or grease down the drain
  • Don’t use boiling water to dissolve fat and grease
  • Arrange for oil to be collected for recycling
  • Install a grease management system and maintain on a regular basis

In the last ten years, NI Water has spent over £1.5 billion investing in water and wastewater infrastructure but no amount of investment will completely prevent blocked sewers if people continue to put fats, oils and grease down the sink.

ENDS//

Notes for Editors

  • Please see attached a short video for social media reminding customers of what happens when fats, oils and grease are poured down the sink.



Both videos are available for use on your online or social media platforms.

For businesses, please see link to a leaflet for the safe disposal of Fats, Oils and Food Waste.

Media enquiries to the NI Water Press Office on 028 9035 7695 or via email to press.office@niwater.com



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