Avoiding blockages in a commercial kitchen

Blocked pipes can cause bad smells, fatbergs and sewer flooding - problems that don't just impact you and your business, but your neighbours and others in your local community too.

Every food service establishment has a legal responsibility to prevent fat oil and grease entering the public sewer. Here's how you can make sure you're following best practice.

Clearing thousands of blockages each year

Every year, we clear around 45,000 blockages. Often these are down to a build-up of fats, oil and grease or inappropriate items being flushed down the toilet.

We work closely with our partner organisation Environmental Compliance and Services (ECAS), to help local businesses protect the sewer system, and educate owners and operators about how to safely dispose of fat, oil and grease.

Causes of blocked drains in commercial kitchens

If you pour fat, oil or grease down your sinks and drains, over time the build of up these fatty deposits in sewers creates a large blockage, known as a fatberg.

These fatbergs prevent sewage from moving along the system to the treatment centres, creating a backlog.

Fatbergs can lead to:

Sewer flooding and bad smells can lead to unhygienic conditions, causing kitchens to close and food establishments to lose revenue while the cause is investigated and appropriate action taken.

How you can stop fat, oil and grease entering the sewer

There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent fat, oil and grease entering the sewer system and help protect you and your neighbours from sewer flooding. 

More tips and tricks

It’s really important you install a grease trap that’s the right size for your kitchen’s needs.

Before you install a grease trap, call us on 0121 809 2100 to discuss it with us first. Our expert team will be able to give you advice about where to put your trap, how big it needs to be and check that’s it’s a suitable trap for your business.

Pouring boiling water down the sink to try and dissolve fat and grease does not work. It simply pushes the problem further down the drain.

That fat, oil and grease might temporarily dissolve in the boiling water and get down your plughole, but it will just take a bit longer to cool, and contribute to a blockage a little bit further down the line. It will still have an impact on your business and your neighbours.

One of the most important things you need to do as a food services establishment is make sure you dispose of your food waste properly.

Any fat, oil and grease that gets collected in your grease trap, can be collected and recycled by one of the Environment Agency approved waste carriers.  

Your grease trap will fill up on a regular basis. It’s important you empty the grease trap when it’s full or fat oil and grease will continue to enter the sewer network.

When your trap is full, empty it into air-tight containers and store them away from drains to prevent spills and leakages getting into the sewer network.

You can then arrange for the containers to be collected by approved waste contractors who will recycle it to be used as bio-fuel.

It is a legal requirement to dispose of your fat, oil, grease and food waste using a licensed waste carrier.

There are several different laws that require catering businesses to manage the disposal of fat, oil and grease correctly, including:

Failure to adhere to the legal requirements could lead to you being prosecuted.

How we can help you and your business

It’s easy to organise a visit from our waste team, who will talk to you about what you can do to reduce the amount of fat, oil and grease that enters our sewers.

Investing in fat trapping equipment can help keep your business costs down. The initial outlay can often outweigh the cost of repeated visiting from drain unblockers and plumbers.

Our team of experts can visit your business to help and advise you on installing the correct grease trapping equipment, and provide training to help reduce the amount of fat, oil and grease going down your drains. To arrange a visit, call us on 0121 809 2100.