NI 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, mixed with wipes and other inappropriate items in the sewers such as wipes, can collectively contribute to a massive fatberg in the sewers in the surrounding area; this results in out of sewer flooding, an unpleasant experience for everyone, leading to serious consequences for the environment.
Gavin McCready, NI Water’s FOG expert explains “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.
“The wastewater drain which runs from each house is just 4 inches wide and is only designed for human waste and toilet roll; so nothing else should go down the sink that could create a blockage.
“We can all play a part in maintaining the sewerage infrastructure 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
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.