Southern Water fears fatberg 'catastrophe' over holidays

  • In Science
  • 2022-12-30 09:36:11Z
  • By BBC

A utility company has warned customers to avoid a "post-Christmas and New Year's catastrophe", by preventing a build up of fatbergs in its network.

Southern Water said it was the time of year when "gruesome" and "nasty" blockages can clog up the sewers.

Fatbergs are usually caused by a build up in pipes of hardened fat, oil and wet wipes.

The company said recent years had also seen Christmas lights, footballs, t-shirts and cutlery cause problems.

Alex Saunders, head of the company's wastewater network, said: "No-one likes a nasty surprise over the festive season and our sewers are no different.

"This is the time of year where we do see an increase in blockages, and so many of these can be easily avoided.

"A blocked sewer can cause flooding to homes and businesses and unclogging them can take a lot of time, effort and disruption for local communities."

There have been about 95,000 sewer blockages across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent and Sussex in the last five years, Southern Water said.

It estimates for every one million turkeys cooked, about 250 tonnes of fat and oil finds its way into its network.

Top tips to avoid blockages

  • Fat, oil and grease should be gathered in containers - allow them to cool, and put them in the bin

  • Leftover uncooked food and vegetable peelings can be composted, and cooked foods binned

  • Leftover sauces or yoghurt should also go in the bin

  • Flush only the three Ps down the loo - pee, paper and poo

  • Nappies, baby wipes, tampons, sanitary towels, panty liners, colostomy bags and condoms should be bagged and binned

  • Cleansing wipes, ear buds, dental floss, plastic razors and cotton pads should also go in the bin

Source: Southern Water

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