Drains appeal after seven tonnes of fat sucked out of town sewer

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WATER company chiefs have issued an appeal to householders and businesses after workers pulled fat weighing the same as five family cars from a South Yorkshire sewer.

Yorkshire Water said the operation was the largest it had carried out so far this year, after staff removed up to seven tonnes of putrid fat from the drain in Rotherham.

Engineers said the fat was discovered during a camera inspection of sewer under the town’s Corporation Street. In some places, it filled up to 80 per cent of the pipe,

A special industrial vacuum cleaner had to deployed to suck the fat out of the sewer and into a tanker, before it was taken to a special waste disposal facility for treatment.

A camera was then sent down to check that all of the fat had been removed, and the company said it will be “dosing the sewer with special fat-busting bugs”, which will eat any fat that does enter the network.

Yorkshire Water spokesman Matt Thompson said: “We’re sadly used to removing blockages caused by fat in our sewer network, but it’s very rare that we ever encounter anything on the scale of the fat mound we’ve seen today.

“We estimate we’ve removed around seven tonnes of putrid, foul-smelling fat from our sewer network under Corporation Street which is pretty shocking.

“While many people are doing the right thing, clearly there are still people out there who are pouring their cooking fats, oils and grease down the kitchen sink and into our sewer network where it hardens and builds-up over time.

“If we hadn’t discovered this blockage, it would have only grown in size until eventually it would have fully blocked the pipe, causing sewage to back-up and discharge into the environment and potentially properties, creating a deeply unpleasant and distressing situation.”

Yorkshire Water said that between January last year and this June, 587 blockages were removed from the sewer network in Rotherham, with many of these occurring as a result of fat build-ups.

Across the region, since January last year, the company has dealt with approximately 15,000 blockages, with an increasing amount as a result of items being wrongly flushed down the toilet.

The company said the best way to dispose of fat in an easy and environmentally friendly way was to let it cool and harden, before scraping it into a bin, or mixing it with other ingredients such as crushed unsalted peanuts to create bird feed.