Love your drain

How to prevent blockages

Love your drain

Advice for businesses.

Northumbrian Water works closely with local businesses to encourage responsible disposal of food waste and kitchen fats, oils and grease (FOG).

Food businesses who dispose of FOG down the sink or drain are at risk of costly drainage problems, disruption to their business and reputational damage.

Although fats, oils and grease do not look harmful when in liquid form, they cause major problems in drains and sewers. As the liquid cools, it congeals and hardens, causing a blockage. This can lead to nasty smells around your business, flooding and pollution. Businesses may have to close while the problem is being fixed and this could result in a loss of earnings.

For catering outlets who are unsure how to dispose of fats, oils and grease correctly, advice is available. Water UK, the organisation which represents the UK’s water and wastewater companies, has produced a best practice guide. This guide has been developed with help from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and other agencies.

Northumbrian Water has also produced a handy kitchen ticklist for taking care of kitchen fat, oil and grease.

Taking care of kitchen fat, oil and grease.

Do wipe and scrape plates, pans and utensils before washing (and put the waste into the bin).
Do collect waste oil in a suitable secure container.
Do arrange for oil to be collected by a licensed waste contractor.
Do use strainers in sink plug holes (and empty contents into the bin).
Do maintain Grease Traps and Enzyme Dosing equipment regularly.
Do not put cooking oil, fat or grease down the sink.
Do not pour waste oil, fat or grease down the drain.
Do not put food scrapings into the sink (place in the rubbish bin).
Do not sweep waste into the floor drains (place rubbish in the bin).
Do not pour boiling hot water down the sink to try and dissolve fat and grease. It does not work!

Food waste macerators

Although macerators provide an easy means of disposing of food waste into drains and sewers, Northumbrian Water discourages their use.

Food waste macerators increase the risk of blockages, sewer flooding, environmental pollution and odours.

Responsible waste collection

Businesses are advised to arrange for waste fat, oil and grease to be taken away by a waste carrier registered with the Environment Agency. You will receive a Waste Transfer Note for each collection. A list of EA-registered carriers can be found at:

Downloadable content

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    Kitchen checklist

    Taking care of kitchen Fat, Oil and Grease.


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    Water UK: Best management practice for catering outlets

    Disposal of Fats, Oils, Grease and Food Waste.


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    Water UK: Guidance on grease traps

    Best practice is to keep fat, oil and grease, including that in food waste and from cleaning the workplace, out of the drains.


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    Water UK: Waste macerators

    The impact on sewers.


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