Grease has had its chips


North East homes and businesses are being asked to ‘chip in’ to keep the region’s drains clear as National Chip Week gets underway (17 - 23 Feb).

With a quarter of all potatoes grown in Britain being fried into chips; that’s 1.6 million tonnes or enough to fill 4,000 jumbo jets, Northumbrian Water has chosen this week to highlight the damage that can be caused by pouring cooking oil or fat down sinks or drains.

In the week that more than 4.8 million portions of fish and chips will be sold around the country, the water company is reminding everyone to dispose of kitchen grease correctly.

Grease may not look harmful while it is being poured into the sink, but as it cools it can congeal, harden and restrict the flow of wastewater. This can eventually lead to pipes becoming blocked.

Reducing blockages in fat-filled drains and tackling sewer flooding is one of Northumbrian Water’s top priorities. In 2013 the company spent more than £100,000 clearing nearly 2,000 blockages from greasy liquids such as cooking oil, butter, meat fats and sauces being poured down sinks or drains.

Our Love your drain campaign, which was launched in August 2012, led to a 13% reduction in the number of blockages in its first year.

Richard Warneford, Northumbrian Water’s wastewater director, said: “The campaign, and especially our mascot Dwaine Pipe, has received a fantastic reception from our customers of all ages from day one and this shows in the reduction in blockages we’ve seen so far.

“We couldn’t have done it without the support of the people of the North East so we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped to make a difference.”

Homeowners enjoying Chip Week can keep their local neighbourhood blockage-free by scraping grease from pans, plates and roasting trays into a bin before washing up. If cooking oil remains in liquid form when cool, it can be soaked in kitchen towel or poured into an empty container and put in a bin.

Businesses are advised to arrange for waste fat, oil and grease to be taken away by a waste carrier registered with the Environment Agency. They will provide a Waste Transfer Note with every collection. A search facility to find registered waste carriers and other advice can be found at

You can find more top tips from our Love your drain campaign by visiting and by following Dwaine Pipe on Facebook or Twitter.

For further information please contact Janine Scott on 0191 301 5538 or

We use cookies on our website. By continuing to browse our website, you are agreeing to use our cookies. Terms and Conditions