Hotel steps up defences to prevent town flooding

A Keswick hotel chain is leading the way to help protect the town centre from unnecessary flooding.

While there is no shortage of rain in Keswick, heavy deluges are not always to blame when water doesn’t drain properly.

That’s because when fats, oils and grease - known as FOG – are poured down our drains, they cool and solidify to cause blockages. This leaves limited capacity for rainwater to pass through the drainage network, often resulting in flooding and a smelly, messy and expensive clean-up job for both private businesses and the community.

Lake District Hotels, which runs three hotels in the town centre, has invested more than £7,000 into helping prevent FOGs from its kitchens reaching its pipes and drains, and has been hailed by United Utilities as an exemplar in protecting its community and the environment.

Andy Peet, wastewater network protection manager at United Utilities, said: “The incorrect disposal of fats, oils and grease down drains is one of the key causes of blockages in the North West.

“Once you pour FOGs down your sink you have no way of controlling what will happen next – they could cool and solidify within your own pipes, causing a nasty, expensive mess for yourself and your business, or they can get as far as the sewers where they can affect the entire community.

“Even things like mayonnaise, dressings and sauces contain oil. It might not seem like much in your own home, but when you add up thousands of meals a day in a town like Keswick it can cause major problems.”

He added: “Lake District Hotels have been fantastic at addressing this issue, installing fat traps to collect FOG and ensuring that staff are properly trained when it comes to disposing of these nasties, such as wiping pots and pans before they are washed, and scraping cooled fats into the bin.”

Dani Hope, director of Lake District Hotels, said: “With six hotels across Cumbria it’s vitally important for us to protect our business and our environment.

“By making relatively small changes to the way we deal with FOGs, we have been able to make a huge difference. We look forward to working further with United Utilities to see what else we can do.”

The Inn on the Square is also set to appear in a special film commissioned by United Utilities to help educate other businesses on how they can reduce the risk of blockages.

Andy Peet added: “We’d urge every business – and householder – to head to our website and find out ways they can avoid blockages and flooding – particularly at this time of year. Householders don’t need to go to the trouble of installing a grease trap at home. With many Christmas dinners being cooked and eaten over the next few days, we advise customers to leave meat juices, fats and grease to cool and then scrape or pour them into the bin.

“Many businesses don’t realise that having a proper system in place for disposing of kitchen waste is often a condition of building regulations and that blocking sewers contravenes the Water industry Act.

“Repeat offenders could face a bill for clean-up costs, and the most serious cases prosecuted. Recently a large pub management chain in Oxfordshire had to pay £90,000 in fines, compensation and costs to Thames Water after admitting breaching the Water Industry Act by letting huge amounts of oil and fat get into the sewers.”