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Love your curry AND your drains during Birmingham’s Curry Week 

Friday 21st April

Tandoori, tikka, masala or korma? Whatever your favourite curry is, Severn Trent is supporting Birmingham Curry Week (17 – 23 April) and telling customers how they can enjoy the tasty treats, without getting caught out with a flood in their homes.  

James Stuart, waste manager for Birmingham, said: “You could argue that curry is pretty much a national dish - it’s as popular as ever with the British public and we know that Severn Trent customers love them as much as we do.

"We hope that they enjoy Birmingham Curry Week this week without causing themselves problems and that they listen to the advice about how to get rid of the cooking oils and fats. We want people to join in celebrating Curry Week’s range of promotions and events across the city, but we want our customers, both at home, and in the many curry houses across the city, to be careful what they do with the inevitable fat, oil and grease created in the cooking.” 

Fats, oils and grease may be in liquid form when first poured down sinks, but they will quickly solidify when meeting the cold wall of the sewer.  This can then stick to the side of the sewer forming a concrete-like solid that attracts other debris, eventually causing a blockage.

With no way through, the waste water backs up the system, coming out of drains and sewers in roads or even homes. 

James, who manages the team whose job it is to unblock the city’s sewers, explains: “Unfortunately, Birmingham is a hotspot in our region for sewer blockages – last year we had to deal with over 12,000 blockages in the city alone. 

"Pouring any fats or oils down your kitchen sink could cause flooding misery.  Blockages mean that waste water can back up in the system, coming out of the drains, sewers, and potentially into your home.  

“Instead we ask that customers bag it, and bin it in containers such as the special ‘fat trap’ that we offer customers for free on our website at stwater.co.uk. This way everyone can enjoy Curry Week without any problems.”  

Millions of pounds of damage is caused each year as blocked drains cause sewer flooding, over 75% of which is the result of sewer misuse which includes things such as fats, oils and grease that should go in the bin, being poured directly down kitchen sinks or flushed down toilets.

And there is a warning for businesses too - last year, Severn Trent successfully prosecuted a business in the region for continually blocking the sewers with fat in a landmark case. Café Saffron in Church Rd, Codsall, was ordered to pay a total of £5,495, including costs, at Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court.  This is only the second example of such a case being brought in the UK, and was a first for Severn Trent. 

Remember, the homeowner is responsible for the waste pipe running away from your house up until it either crosses the property boundary or joins with another waste pipe or sewer. If a problem occurs on this section of pipe, you will need to call a plumber. Severn Trent has a list of approved plumbers on its website at stwater.co.uk/watermark.  

If you do run into problems with slow drains or a blocked sewer, this is Severn Trent’s responsibility, and you can report it at stwater.co.uk or by calling 0800 783 4444. 

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