By Elle Rigby
ONCE CHRISTMAS dinner is over, don’t be tempted to just throw the left-over fat and grease down the sink, water companies are pleading.
The fatty gunk from the festive aftermath sets hard as concrete and attracts other debris which eventually causes a blockage that has to be dug out of sewers in order to prevent flooding.
Congealed cooking oil and grease – known as “turkey-bergs” are blocking drains throughout the country and has led to one water company, Severn Trent offering households free “gunk pot fat-traps” through their website, which allow you to store grease until it is cool so it can be put in the bin.
And Yorkshire Water is aiming to tackling the problem with its innovative fat-vat scheme which allows residents to collect unwanted oil for use as bio-oil.
These fat vats, once full, are then collected from residents’ doorsteps, with the cooking oil sold to renewable energy companies to refine and turn into carbon neutral bio fuel.
Just one litre of the cooking oils can generate enough electricity to make 240 cups of tea or power a flatscreen television for three hours.
The scheme, which was started in Bradford in 2014 and run with Karmand Community Centre, has collected 3,000 litres of oil from 268 households since it started.
This has dramatically curbed the number of sewage blockages since the launch, reducing the blockage from 85 causes of fats, oils and greases incidents in 2011-2014 to just one in 2014.
Duncan Woodhead, from Yorkshire Water, said the project was aimed at changing the behaviour of residents who had been unaware of the risk of “fatberg blockages.”
A spokesman for Yorkshire Water press office said that there are plans to eventually expand the scheme throughout the wider Yorkshire area and into Leeds.
Yorkshire Water said 110,000 tonnes of used cooking oil is disposed of each year by UK households, which could power 110,000 homes with carbon-neutral electricity.
James Jesic, operations manager for Severn Trent, said: “Everyone loves to indulge at Christmas time and you may find your kitchen turning into a factory, but please, please don’t pour hot fat and grease down the sink.
“It might seem harmless when you’re doing it, but with no way through, the waste water backs up the system, coming out of drains and sewers in roads or even into homes – nobody wants a flooded house for Christmas.”