Southern Water have reported that their sewers have seen a significant reduction in blockages since they launched their FOG and Unflushables campaign. 

Grease management education is key

The award-winning project was launched in 2015 after Southern Water discovered that of the 23,000 blockages they experienced, 65% were caused by fats, oils and grease, or FOGs as they’re known in the industry, as well as other items such as wet wipes and sanitary items. As these types of blockages are completely preventable, the scheme aims to educate food establishments and their customers about the correct disposal of FOGs in order to help keep their sewer network clear of the dreaded fatbergs and flooding. 

One of the main targets of the campaign is local food service establishments, such as takeaways, restaurants and canteens in public buildings, as they are the main offenders who cause the most significant damage and pollution of our waterways. As well as educating and building a relationship with such businesses, Southern Water has created and put in place a stringent warning system to help encourage compliance with correct FOG disposal. 

FOG warning system to encourage compliance 

As part of the system, Southern Water will clear a blockage for free for a first-time offence however, if it happens again and the organisation hasn’t installed an effective grease management system, Sothern Water will charge them for their services. Third time offenders who still do not have a grease management system in place will face prosecution and potentially expensive court proceedings. 

Southern Water’s network protection and enforcement officer Stephen Williams explains this approach, ‘we’d rather engage with them and give them all of the information to prevent it happening, protect their own environment and stop them flooding themselves or their neighbours.’ As part of the scheme, special customer engagement officers target the most problematic domestic areas and go to talk to the residents in a bid to educate them on how to dispose of household waste correctly and why it is so important. 

According to their research, awareness of FOG and unflushables has risen to 76% over the last three years and the number of blockages in the sewers has dropped more than 25% to 17,000 a year, an excellent start to achieving their goal of zero pollution by 2040.  The scheme is so successful it is the worthy winner of the ‘Drainage & Flood Management Initiative of the Year’ title as won at the 2019 Water Industry Awards.

Are you concerned about your commercial kitchen’s fats, oils and grease management? Then contact industry leaders Filta to find out how you can protect your business from blocked pipes and potential prosecution with our bespoke grease management solutions. Simply fill out and submit our online contact form or call us on 01788 550100.