It’s Unblocktober and Manchester’s water company is on a mission to rid the city’s sewers of fatbergs.

United Utilities is sending in its expert fat busters to help convince restaurants, takeaways and other food outlets to put the city’s sewers on a strict diet and stop fats, oils and grease (FOG) being washed down their drains.

Three areas will receive special attention in the pilot which if successful will be rolled-out to other parts of the region.

Oxford Road, the Northern Quarter and China Town are all being targeted to receive help and advice on how to dispose of FOG correctly to prevent sewer blockages, flooding and costly sewer cleaning.

Representatives from United Utilities will be visiting food establishments in these areas to perform audits of premises, provide recommendations, deliver training on processes, offer advice on what equipment to use and install and provide guidance on how to remain compliant with waste disposal regulations.

United Utilities’ Andrew Peet, commented: “The consequences of pouring oil and grease down the drain can be huge. It can cause flooding to properties and roads and pollute rivers, as well as impacting bathing waters.

“The benefit of us taking this proactive approach to FOG disposal is to try to prevent blockages occurring in the first place.

“We’re delighted to support Unblocktober. It’s an important campaign. We work closely with communities in the North West, through projects with schools, businesses and customers, to keep them informed about how we can avoid floods and fatbergs,” he added.

The sewer system is only designed for water, toilet paper and human waste to flow through and not the increasing volume of fat and other items such as wet wipes.

Each year United Utilities tackles around 28,000 blockages in the sewers costing around £10 million to clear.

Earlier this year the North West’s biggest ever fatberg was discovered lurking underground in a Liverpool sewer. The 400-tonne, 250 metre-long lump of congealed fats, oils and other nasties wouldn’t budge with traditional high powered water jets and had to be hacked out at a cost of around £100,000.


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