Water firms across the country are beginning to warn their customers of blocked drains during the Christmas season, as fears grow of what is known as “turkey-bergs” entering the sewerage systems.
With so much extra food wastage expected to enter the systems over the holidays, it has been an unsightly Christmas tradition for sewers and drains to swell and block from the amount of wasted food and fat being flushed from homes.
Yorkshire Water said it was helping to tackle the turkey berg problem by allowing residents to collect unwanted oil for use as bio-fuel.
The scheme, which is run with the Karmand community centre in Bradford, has collected over 3,000 litres of oil since 2014.
According to Severn Trent, which had to dig out a fat berg in Coventry this week, fat, oil, and grease is the cause of more than three quarters of all sewerage blockages.
James Jesic, operations manager at Severn Trent said that, “Everyone loves to indulge at Christmas time and you may find your kitchen turning into a factory, churning out endless festive snacks and treats – but please, please don’t pour hot fat and grease down the sink.
He continued, saying that, “it might seem harmless when you’re doing it, but that grease quickly solidifies when it cools and sticks to the sides of our sewers forming a concrete-like solid that attracts other debris, eventually causing a blockage.”
Yorkshire Water said that 110,000 tonnes of used cooking oil is disposed of each year by UK households, which could be enough to power 110,000 homes with carbon-neutral electricity.
In 2014, the UK’s biggest ever fatberg was removed from a London sewer, with Thames Water stating that the berg was the size of a bus and had clogged the drains under London Road in Kingston Upon Thames.
Weighing in at well over 15 tonnes of fat, Thames Water warned that if it was not discovered sooner, streets, homes, and businesses in Kinston Upon Thames would have been engulfed in polluted water.
It took over six weeks to repair the sewers after the berg was removed, which had reduced its capacity to under five per cent.