1. ITV Report

Chefs urged to 'save our sewers'

Credit: ITV News Photo:

Chefs, hotel owners, and restaurant managers have been taken underground - to see the damage to the south's sewers, caused by fat which is poured down the drain.

The hospitality industry is the focus of a new scheme by Southern Water, aimed at stopping the problem on an industrial scale.

Fat, oil and grease taken from sewers beneath a residential street Credit: ITV News

When grease, oil and fat gets into the sewage system, it mixes with sanitary products like wet wipes, forming a concrete-like mass. If there is enough build-up, this can block the entire system, according to Southern Water:

We've partnered with Brighton and Hove Food Festival very much to inform and advise restauranteurs and hoteliers about the risks associated with putting fat oil and greece down the sewers. They can block the sewers, clog them up and join up with other debris like sanitary products and that can cause flooding and damage - and ultimately it can close down businesses.

– Geoff Loader, Southern Water

What you can do to help reduce blockages:

  • Never pour fat, oils or grease down sinks, drains or toilets.
  • Instead, before dishes are washed up or put in the dishwasher, scrape or tip cold fat, oils and grease, as well as food scraps into a disposable container, let it solidify then put it in the bin.
  • Where appropriate, try to reuse oil and fat.
  • Your local authority recycling centre is likely to have an oil and fat recycling facility.