THE water watchdog is urging everyone to make sure their festive cooking does not become a pain in the drain this Christmas by avoiding pouring fats and greases down the sink or loo.

About a third of us are still unsure about what we can safely dispose of down the sink, toilet or drain, according to research by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater).

But around three quarters of the 200,000 sewer blockages which happen in the UK every year could be avoided if we remembered not to pour fats, oils and greases down the drain.

That’s why CCWater is asking people to – Think – not down the sink! – before getting rid of their turkey fat and gravy this Christmas.

Dame Yve Buckland, chair of CCWater, said:

Pouring a bit of fat down the sink or loo might seem quick and convenient but it could easily end up ruining your Christmas.

These fats can quickly lead to a blocked sink, drain or toilet which means you will end up footing the bill for an emergency call-out which is likely to cost around £90. It also costs water companies about £15million every year to clear blockages with customers ultimately footing the bill.”

Blockages account for more than half of sewer flooding incidents in the UK and over 3,000 properties are flooded each year as a result. But if we all took more care not to dispose of fats, oils and greases in the sewerage system, the number of customers affected by flooding and the damage to the environment could be significantly reduced.

CCWater’s top tips for disposing of fats, oils and grease this Christmas:

  • Allow small amounts of fats, oils and grease to cool and scrape them into a container or newspaper before binning them
  • Keep a “fat trap” or container in the kitchen to collect waste fats, oils and grease. Many water companies will provide you with a free fat trap
  • Mix cooking oil with absorbent material such as cat litter or coffee grounds, and then throw it away

AND REMEMBER simply running the hot water tap and using detergent is not the answer grease and hot water eventually cool down in pipes and cause blockages.

Sewer Flooding – the facts:

  • Drains from the home are normally no wider than four inches (100mm).
  • If you find it difficult to flush your toilet or notice that water begins to drain away slowly or bubbles come from the bottom of your toilet, contact your sewerage company and clearly explain the symptoms. Do not try to flush the toilet again as this could cause internal flooding.
  • If the problem is due to a blockage or fault in your private drain, you will need to hire a drainage contractor to clear the blockage or repair it. Sewerage companies are only responsible for unblocking and maintaining sewers.
  • If sewage has entered your property from a sewer, the company will send someone to visit you as soon as possible and help clean your property.
  • You are entitled to a rebate of your annual sewerage bill (up to £1,000) if you suffer flooding in your home caused by a public sewer.
  • Don’t forget to check to see if your household insurance covers sewer flooding.