Fat-busting bugs fight sewer blockages

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A COMMON bacteria is being used to help clear Yorkshire sewers of blockages caused by the build up of fat, oil and grease.

Yorkshire Water is deploying “fat-busting bugs” at 180 hot-spots where fat has caused problems including flooding homes.

Organically grown bacillus bacteria, commonly found in the human gut, feasts on the fat after being mixed with water poured into the sewer.

Cooking fat, oils and grease get into the sewer from household drains, usually via the kitchen sink and appliances such as dishwashers.

So far this year the company has already removed over 18,000 blockages from its sewer network, with 37 per cent of these being caused by people pouring fat down the sink or flushing baby wipes, sanitary items or nappies down the toilet.

The total amount of fat removed by the company this year is around 2,000 tonnes.

Patrick Killgallon, pollution manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “Having your home filled with waste from your toilet and indeed your sink is a very unpleasant experience, which no one should ever have to suffer, particularly at Christmas, which is why we work hard to encourage people to think twice before they pour left over fat down the plug hole or flush the odd make-up wipe down the toilet.

“Because these bacteria constantly multiply in the right environment, we can leave them to get on with their job in our sewers ... without the need for regular dosing.

“We’re confident their introduction will significantly help to reduce fat, oils and grease blockages in the region, ensuring waste water from local homes and businesses can flow freely to our sewage works where we can recycle it properly before returning it to the environment.”

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