Green scheme cuts through the ′FOG′

25 July 2018

Food businesses in South Shields Town Centre are benefiting from a new project to help reduce the amount of fats, oils and grease getting into the local sewerage network.

The Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) scheme is being delivered by South Tyneside Council, in partnership with Northumbrian Water, to increase awareness of the need to dispose of waste fat, oil and grease properly.

It comes following incidents of a build-up of grease in the local sewers and blocked drains to the back of Ocean Road, which is renowned for its array of B&Bs, restaurants and take away businesses.

Environmental Health officers have been contacting food businesses about the effective storage and disposal of waste, in particular fat and oil based products, as well as offering them the opportunity for further waste management advice and appropriate grease traps to be installed (costs apply).

Councillor Nancy Maxwell, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “We know that the majority of food businesses do dispose of fats, oils and waste responsibly.

“However fats, oils and grease can end up in the sewer in a variety of ways, from the surfaces of utensils and plates during washing up to food products containing fats being put in waste disposal units or down the sink. In liquid form they may not appear to be harmful, but as they cool, they congeal and harden, sticking to the inner lining of drainage pipes, restricting the flow of waste water and causing pipes to block.

“This scheme is about us working in partnership with businesses to highlight the issue and provide advice to prevent problems from happening and helping to ensure the sewerage system in Ocean Road remains free-flowing, clear of fats, oils and grease and easier to maintain in the future.”

The Council and Northumbrian Water have legal powers to deal with discharges to the sewerage system as well as problems with waste disposal, nuisance and public health issues.

However, this scheme takes a preventative approach, by advising businesses on the effective and responsible disposal of all wastes. If not properly applied, businesses could put themselves at risk of costly drainage problems, disruption to business and reputational damage.

Where drains become blocked with fats, oils and grease, sewage can also flow back into premises causing overflowing drains and blocked sinks, which could lead to food hygiene issues. Businesses may have to close while the problem is fixed and this could result in loss of earnings.

Anthony Wilson, Technical Advisor (FOG) at Northumbrian Water, said: “By working with South Tyneside Council and businesses in the area, we hope to encourage more people to love their drain and help to keep fats, oil and grease where they belong – in the bin.

“Just a few simple changes will make a big difference to maintaining a healthy and free flowing sewerage system as well as helping business owners to avoid committing an offence by not following best practice.”

Northumbrian Water has produced a handy kitchen tick-list for taking care of kitchen fat, oil and grease:

• Wipe and scrape plats, plans and utensils before washing (put the waste in the bin);
• Collect waste oil in a suitable secure container and arrange for it to be collected by a licensed waste contractor;
• Use strainers in sink plug holes (and empty contents into the bin);
• Maintain grease traps and enzyme dosing equipment regularly;
• Don’t put cooking oil, fat or grease down the sink or down the drain;
• Don’t put food scrapings into the sink (put them in the bin);
• Don’t pour boiling hot water down the sink to try and dissolve fat and grease. It does not work!

For further information about the FOG scheme, call South Tyneside Council’s Environmental Health Team on (0191) 424 7919.

A free business pack providing further advice on dealing with FOG is available on Northumbrian Water’s website at www.nwl.co.uk/business/blove-your-drain.aspx

For further information please contact:

Kaye Russell, Press Officer
Tel: 0191 424 7382
email: kaye.russell@southtyneside.gov.uk

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