Exeter businesses taught proper grease disposal

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SOUTH West Water is launching its Think Sink campaign for businesses in Exeter this month to remind food service establishments of their responsibilities regarding the proper disposal of fat, oil, grease and food waste.

Every year, tens of thousands of litres of waste fat, cooking oil and grease are poured down sinks by people who don’t realise the problems this could cause.

Parts of Exeter have a history of sewer blockages and flooding as well as attracting vermin such as rats due to this.

In extreme cases, fat and oil can combine with other material to create fatbergs, such as in Sidmouth when earlier this year workers spent eight weeks braving exceptionally challenging conditions to break up 64 metres of congealed, fat, oil and wet wipes.

Andrew Roantree, South West Water’s Director of Wastewater, commented on the new programme: “Every year we deal with around 8,500 blocked sewers across our region, which costs about £4.5million.

“This has an impact on bills, which we’re trying to keep as low as possible.

“Overall, we spend £35million a year to maintain and upgrade the sewerage network.

“We’re doing our bit – and we’re seeking to enlist the help of businesses in the communities we serve.

“Our award-winning Love Your Loo and Think Sink campaigns have been encouraging household customers to play their part for several years.

“Over the next couple of months, specially trained South West Water advisors will be visiting hotels, restaurants, cafes and other food service establishments to provide advice on correct waste disposal and the simple changes they can make to help ‘stop the block’ in Exeter.”

To prevent sewer flooding and blockages it is important to dispose of fat, oil, grease and food waste appropriately.

This includes scraping or wiping plates and cooking utensils before washing, and pouring liquid fat, oil and grease into suitable containers to cool before disposal.

It is recommended that drainage serving kitchens in restaurants should be fitted with a grease separator or other effective means of grease removal, for example mechanical grease removal equipment or biological/bacterial dosing systems which break down grease.