£50m clean up bill for turkey fat

£50m clean up bill for turkey fat

£50m clean up bill for turkey fat

First published in News

Britons will pour 15 million cups of roast turkey fat down the kitchen sink on Christmas Day, enough to nearly fill an Olympic swimming pool, contributing to our £50 million bill for clearing sewer pipes, according in Hampshire research.

Research from the University of Portsmouth has shown how fat transforms into a hard soapy material when poured into the sewers, creating major problems for water companies.

The study found that removing fat, oil and grease from sewer pipes adds up to £50 million a year to our household bills.

Dr John Williams, from the University of Portsmouth, said: ''Millions will have stretched their finances to the maximum to pay for Christmas without realising they might be storing up hidden costs for later by pouring cooking fat down the kitchen sink.

''Householders who pour fat down the plughole might as well be pouring money down the drain.

''Many people do not understand how a modern city runs, which is why sewers are abused.

''Sewer systems are designed to use water to transport waste, so adding fat, oil and grease to that leads to sewer clogging and system failure.

''The costs of removing fat, oil and grease from the sewers are inevitably passed on to consumers.

''Nobody budgets for this, but we all pay the price.''

He added that sewer blockages also pose serious health risks through the danger of toilets backing up and sewer overflows.

Dr Williams explained that once poured down sinks, the oil from the fat transformed into a hard, chalky substance, a bit like soap, which was very hard to remove.

He added that the culprits, whether they be takeaway restaurants or specific homes, were difficult to pinpoint.

Dr Williams said his research into how this substance forms would help water companies remove it and reduce their costs.

He explained that the two main causes were the fatty acids transforming from unsaturated to saturated forms, which is helped along by sewer micro-organisms.

The other was linked to the way fat, oil and grease deposits form in hard water areas, he said.

Increasing water hardness is associated with increased calcium levels in fats, oil and grease, making the residue harder to remove.

Southern Water has released a video aimed at highlighting the problem in a light-hearted version of the Twelve Days of Christmas which asks customers not to pour fat down the drain.

Southern Water's head of wastewater, Simon Parker, said: ''We always notice an increase in fat in the sewers around this time of year as so many people are at home cooking Christmas dinners and more fat than normal ends up down the sink.''

Comments (9)

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7:31am Wed 19 Dec 12

voiceof thepeople says...

I'm not too upset by that, after all I can remember when the water rates were bundled in with normal rates and it was a pittance, at least I now know what they're spending my sixty two pounds a month on ...
I'm not too upset by that, after all I can remember when the water rates were bundled in with normal rates and it was a pittance, at least I now know what they're spending my sixty two pounds a month on ... voiceof thepeople
  • Score: 0

7:51am Wed 19 Dec 12

Lockssmart says...

Fat cats getting more fat
Fat cats getting more fat Lockssmart
  • Score: 0

8:08am Wed 19 Dec 12

bigfella777 says...

Not me,Im having lamb.
Not me,Im having lamb. bigfella777
  • Score: 0

9:14am Wed 19 Dec 12

loosehead says...

We pour the excess fat into old plastic milk containers & put them in the black bags & into the bin.
not only does it clog up sewers it also clogs up your own pipes costing you money!
We pour the excess fat into old plastic milk containers & put them in the black bags & into the bin. not only does it clog up sewers it also clogs up your own pipes costing you money! loosehead
  • Score: 0

9:25am Wed 19 Dec 12

derek james says...

i would say most fat is in the sewers because of takeaways and restaurants that's where to send the bills
i would say most fat is in the sewers because of takeaways and restaurants that's where to send the bills derek james
  • Score: 0

10:12am Wed 19 Dec 12

This_DAMN_Town says...

derek james wrote:
i would say most fat is in the sewers because of takeaways and restaurants that's where to send the bills
Quite right! They should foot the bill for this. Not people like the above and myself who store fats and throw them in the bin, or us it to make fat balls for the birds!
[quote][p][bold]derek james[/bold] wrote: i would say most fat is in the sewers because of takeaways and restaurants that's where to send the bills[/p][/quote]Quite right! They should foot the bill for this. Not people like the above and myself who store fats and throw them in the bin, or us it to make fat balls for the birds! This_DAMN_Town
  • Score: 0

10:42am Wed 19 Dec 12

10 Minute Man says...

Normally food businesses have systems to trap grease. Not only that, they typically have people collecting and processing the waste fat. It doesn't go into the sewer normally - I expect there are rogue exceptions to this but not typical.

I suspect this story has been pushed into the press because the fat cat water companies can't cry poverty because of drought conditions - that particular "use less water whilst we charge you the same amount" line isn't working. So now its "please reduce our maintenance costs for us". Treble bonuses all round !

They took away our municipal water system, its their business problem now not a "lets all pull together" public service which is cost neutral.
Normally food businesses have systems to trap grease. Not only that, they typically have people collecting and processing the waste fat. It doesn't go into the sewer normally - I expect there are rogue exceptions to this but not typical. I suspect this story has been pushed into the press because the fat cat water companies can't cry poverty because of drought conditions - that particular "use less water whilst we charge you the same amount" line isn't working. So now its "please reduce our maintenance costs for us". Treble bonuses all round ! They took away our municipal water system, its their business problem now not a "lets all pull together" public service which is cost neutral. 10 Minute Man
  • Score: 0

12:36pm Wed 19 Dec 12

loosehead says...

I asked several fast food outlets what they did with their old fat & they said it was taken away.
I was looking at a way to start a business making bio fuel/diesel but they assured me the waste was taken away by contractors.
now I don't know about individual restaurants & cafe's & that was 7 years ago & I haven't got the money to do it now
I asked several fast food outlets what they did with their old fat & they said it was taken away. I was looking at a way to start a business making bio fuel/diesel but they assured me the waste was taken away by contractors. now I don't know about individual restaurants & cafe's & that was 7 years ago & I haven't got the money to do it now loosehead
  • Score: 0

1:43pm Wed 19 Dec 12

bazzeroz says...

This_DAMN_Town wrote:
derek james wrote:
i would say most fat is in the sewers because of takeaways and restaurants that's where to send the bills
Quite right! They should foot the bill for this. Not people like the above and myself who store fats and throw them in the bin, or us it to make fat balls for the birds!
And the foreigners that just lob their fat/oil into back cutways just like they would in their own country. Don't call me racist or a liar because I'm not, I've seen it and reported it!
[quote][p][bold]This_DAMN_Town[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]derek james[/bold] wrote: i would say most fat is in the sewers because of takeaways and restaurants that's where to send the bills[/p][/quote]Quite right! They should foot the bill for this. Not people like the above and myself who store fats and throw them in the bin, or us it to make fat balls for the birds![/p][/quote]And the foreigners that just lob their fat/oil into back cutways just like they would in their own country. Don't call me racist or a liar because I'm not, I've seen it and reported it! bazzeroz
  • Score: 0

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