Unblocktober – the fight against F.O.G.s (part I.)

Fat, oil and grease in liquid form may not appear to be harmful, but as it cools it congeals and hardens. It sticks to the inner lining of drainage pipes and restricts the wastewater flow causing the pipes to block. Using detergents or bleach may appear to help but this is only temporary as the mixture soon turns back to thick or solid fat.

As F.O.G clogs pipes, the bits of rotting food trapped in the F.O.G form hydrogen sulfide. The hydrogen sulfide combines with water to form sulfuric acid, which eats the pipes.

The clogs caused by F.O.G can also cause sanitary sewer overflows, which expose people to raw sewage—a serious health hazard—and are expensive to clean up. Nonetheless, there is an increased possibility that raw sewage will eventually enter the sea.

“370,000 sewer blockages every year, 80% of which are caused by F.O.G.”

British Water

Problems locally

Egerton Park
source: Environment Agency

It is all connected. The picture above was taken of the lake in Egerton Park right by Wickham Avenue. Which is where the Surface Water Sewer is connected to the lake. The water gets released to the sea at point ‘R’ at the end of bathing season after the summer. Therefore, the surface water sits there for a number of months…

Here is a couple of things you can do to prevent F.O.G.s, and basically anything that is not supposed to be put down the drain, get into our sewage system. Blog post with more detailed solutions can be found in Unblocktober Part 2.

  • Use a container to dispose of any fat or oil used in cooking before putting it in the bin.
  • Wipe dry any pans and plates before putting it in the sink.