Nearly half of people in Manchester cause millions of pounds-worth of problems with pipes by disposing fat and food waste down the plughole, according to new research – and some even ditch their gravy down the TOILET.
A study by United Utilities – the UK’s largest listed water company – has revealed that 46% of Mancunians do it.
The study hints that the region’s fondness for fat could be part of the problem with one in five North West residents frying food at least three days a week.
The average North West household pours 14lbs of fat, oils and grease down the drain a year, equating to a total of 2.9million stone.
Adrian Booth, a spokesman from United Utilities, told MM: “We are regularly called out to unblock pipes and sewers clogged with solidified fats, which is both costly and disruptive.
“Quite often, some of the problems a customer will face is a problem they have to sort by contacting local plumbers, at a cost to themselves.
“We will deal with anything on a main sewer, but there are repercussions potentially for the customer directly as well.”
United Utilities respond to 53,000 households regionally due to the issue every year, at a cost of £20million.
“It’s money we could be redeploying in other areas to offer a better customer experience,” Adrian said.
“When customers pour fat down the sink it’s in liquid form, but once it goes further down the pipe it start to solidify.
“Then over a period of time it will just restrict the pipe until the point it comes fully blocked, and that’s when you can have some quite devastating effects where you’ve got customers who have been affected with sewage in the home.
“I’ve responded personally to calls where I’m faced with a customer who has waste water in the living room, as drastic as that.”
Fat being poured down pipes can also have an impact when it comes to recycling water.
“It has an impact when it goes back to our treatment works because we have to treat sewage before the final effluent goes back into the water course,” he said.
“It certainly has an environmental impact because you will have man sewers which will have an overflow system and if it gets blocked it ends up sending diluted sewage back into the water course.”
The United Utilities spokesman also explained that the sink wasn’t the only place where people chose to dispose their food waste.
“Anything that won’t go down the sink, tends to go down the toilet,” he said.
“Gravy seems to be a good one for the North West, it’s not something the southerners relate to.”
Main image courtesy of Krystle and www.homejobsbymum.com and inset courtesy of Beatrice Murch, with thanks.