Fats, oils and greases, better known as FOGs in the drainage industry cause major problems in our sewer network when poured down kitchen sinks, toilets and drains.

So, before you tip that harmless looking liquid fat from your Sunday roast dinner down the kitchen sink, keep in mind that once it congeals and mixes with other disposed food and sanitary waste it hardens in pipes and over time turns into a drain blockage that can eventually cause flooding or pollution in your own home as well as local area.

The fat facts

  • Drainage blockages account for 80% of sewer flooding incidents in the UK and more than 5,000 homes and properties are flooded each year as a result.
  • There are approximately 370,000 sewer blockages throughout the UK every year, of which up to 80% are caused by fats, oils and grease, baby wipes, sanitary waste and other unflushable items.
  • Around £100 million is spent annually on reactive drainage blockage clearance nationwide, with further costs for clean-up after flooding incidents. These costs will be paid for through customer bills.
  • Through sewer flooding, FOG build-up is indirectly responsible for many cases of property damage and pollution incidents.
  • Even when FOG compounds cause few problems in sewers, they can result in serious difficulties at sewage pumping stations, including problems with build-up.
  • If we all take care not to dispose of fats, oils, grease or other food waste into the sewerage system, the number of customers affected by flooding and the impact on our environment will be significantly reduced.

What’s the answer?

  • The water industry has published best practice guidelines to ensure that fats, oils and grease are disposed of correctly and do not enter drains and sewers.
  • Individual water and sewerage companies also publish advice to customers on the correct use of the wastewater network and alternative disposal methods for fats, oils, grease and other waste products which are not suitable for disposal via the domestic drainage system.
  • Commercial companies exist for the collection and disposal of fats, oils and grease. These ensure that such waste is carried, managed and disposed of appropriately. The activities of these companies are regulated by the Environment Agency or SEPA in Scotland.

Information sourced from Water UK

For more information on the disposal of fats, oils, grease and food waste, visit: