WITH the post-Christmas period well underway, households in north Shropshire are being urged to avoid FOG in the new year – fats, oil and grease.

The call has come from water operator Severn Trent, who says its sewage treatment works staff are having to deal with the 'triple threat' of fats, oils and greases, also known as FOG, during Christmas.

Phillip Powell, from Severn Trent, says that the three things should not be poured down the drain and can have a devastating impact once they congeal.

“Fat, oil and grease is a real problem all year round, but around Christmas and New Year we always see an increase in the amount arriving into our works which can cause big problems," he said.

"In some cases we have to hire in vacuum wagons to remove huge breeze block sized chunks of FOG as they can cause huge blockages within the pipe work.

“Pouring your cooking fat down the sink might seem like the easy thing to do but, once in the sewer system, it congeals into solid lumps which can then combine with other things like wet wipes which don’t break down.

"This can easily lead to a big blockage and sewer flooding, which is really horrible thing for anyone to experience.

"To avoid blockages we advise waiting for cooking fats, oils and greases to cool before disposing of them in the bin.”

Phil added: “Many customers also may not realise that they are responsible for the waste pipe running away from their home up until it either crosses the property boundary or meets with another waste pipe or sewer.

"It doesn’t take much to cause a blockage and unblocking or repairing this section of pipe can be costly, but it’s completely avoidable if you’re careful about what you pour down your sink and flush down your toilet.”

If customers do run into problems, either slow drains or a blocked sewer which is Severn Trent’s responsibility they can be reported at www.stwater.co.uk or by calling 0800 783 4444.