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Beautiful Warwick Castle dates back almost 11 centuries and survived an attack in 1264, a siege in 1642 and a fire in 1871. Who would have thought that fat poured down the drains would have almost been its downfall in 2017?
Severn Trent Water, which is responsible for the local water and sewage facilities, warns that this is a common problem in our towns and cities, as people constantly pour oil and fat down our drains and flush wipes down toilets. One recent blockage in the area - which ran along an entire street - was so completely solid that it strongly resembled concrete and had to be physically dug out.
The message that wipes are not flushable and should be binned, does seem to be slowly getting across, but sadly many people still assume that the warm grease, fats and oils left over from cooking can be dumped down the sink, as long as it's washed down with lots of very hot, soapy water. The reality is, however, that this waste quickly cools and solidifies, building up and blocking the drains or sewers.
It needs to be drummed into people that cooking oil and fat and any greasy residues that come out of food during the cooking process, should be poured into a sealable container when it's cold and thrown into the bin. To make things easier, many local authorities provide free 'fat traps' which enable residents and businesses to collect their leftover fats, oils and greases before disposal in the bin, but I don't think the issue - or the solution - are given enough publicity; especially when one considers the unpleasant and unhealthy consequences.
And these days, it's not all about inconvenience and costs of and sewers 'backing up' and overflowing onto our streets... There's a warning for businesses too... last year, in a landmark case, Severn Trent Water successfully prosecuted a business for continually blocking the sewers with fat. The business was ordered to pay a total of £5,495, including costs. This is only the second example of such a case being brought in the UK, but will become just the second of many until the message gets across that our sewers need to be treated with respect. If you have any ideas on how this can be done, I'd love to be able to share them with my readers...
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11th May 2017