Don’t let festive fun go down the plughole - keep fats and grease away from the drain

29 Nov 2022

United Utilities is urging people across the North West to keep festive food waste well away from the plughole this Christmas to avoid creating an expensive pain in the drain.

No one likes doing the washing up and although it might be tempting to wash leftovers down the sink, this can create nasty blockages in wastewater pipes which mean the only thing going down the drain is the festive fun.

During the last 12 months, United Utilities dealt with more than 1,000 avoidable blockages across the region caused by the build-up of fats, oils and grease (FOG). Many more will have caused blockages, and even flooding, inside properties and been dealt with by private plumbers.

Wastewater Network Protection Manager at United Utilities Andy Peet explained: “It is estimated that the average Christmas day lunch contains a whopping 190g of fat, even sauces and gravy contain fats. On top of that there’s all the leftover grease from cooking the meat and the roast potatoes and perhaps even Yorkshire puddings, to get rid of – washing this down the drain is a recipe for disaster.”

When fats, oils and greases are put down the drain, they harden into lumps and stick to food scraps – over time these get bigger until they block the pipes completely.

washing up in the kitchen.jpgBlockages in wastewater - or sewer - pipes can cause flooding in homes and gardens – and if the blockage is within a customer’s private drains they may need the services of an emergency plumber to clear it.

Andy added: “Christmas is an expensive time of year and the last thing people want to deal with is a blocked drain – not only is it messy and smelly it can also bring extra unwelcome expense.”

Millions of pounds are spent on cleaning drains and sewers right across the UK because of products that shouldn't be in them.

Andy added: “The good news is people can make sure their Christmas celebrations don’t turn into a turkey simply by using a strainer over the plug to catch food waste and letting leftover oils and grease cool down before scraping them into the bin – the same applies when using a dishwasher – scrape the dishes before putting them in.”

For more ways to Stop the Block! visit: