No more Cheltenham fatbergs thanks to our work with food outlets

Last year we joined forces with both national and local food chains such as YO! Sushi, J D Wetherspoon and The Mayflower to help prevent sewer blockages and fatbergs from happening in Cheltenham.  And recent checks of the sewers show that there is no longer any fat build up, so the effort was truly worth it!  

Businesses in Cheltenham town centre had been suffering from blocked toilets and investigations showed that the sewers in Post Office Lane had been totally clogged up by fat, oil and grease (FOG).  So, with help from partners, ECAS, we set up an awareness raising programme for staff at local pubs and restaurants, teaching people how to dispose of fats and oils from cooking, and helped to understand the environmental benefits of looking after their pipes and local sewers.

Grant Mitchell, community relationships advisor, has been working with these companies directly: “We don’t want to be telling the world about huge fatbergs that we’ve found – we want to be tackling the issue at source, so we’re really pleased that these big national chains, along with local businesses agreed to work with us on reducing sewer blockages and fatbergs. And look at what a difference it has made – no more fat blocking the sewers in Post Office Lane!  This is an incredible success story, and one that we couldn’t have achieved without the help and support from the local pubs and restaurants. 

“Most blockages are caused by people putting the wrong things down their toilets and sinks, and we normally only know about the blockage when sewage is backing up and spilling out onto the road, so education on preventing the blockage in the first place is key to protecting the environment. By working together with companies like The Mayflower and J D Wetherspoon, who take their environmental responsibilities so seriously, we’ve been able to make a significant difference to the number of blockages which are caused by fats, oils and greases.  We’re hoping that the success here in Post Office Lane will now serve as role model behaviour to other companies.”

Chun F Kong, from The Mayflower restaurant in Cheltenham said: “We’re very pleased to have been working with Severn Trent who were able to advise us on everything about our grease traps.  Without the grease traps we could get flooding in our restaurant and that would lead to loss of trade. It’s also very important that we do our bit for the environment as well.  If everyone can do the same, we’ll have happy businesses and less blockages for all of us.  So I highly recommend working with Severn Trent.”

Grant added: “YO! Sushi, J D Wetherspoon and The Mayflower may be big companies, but their staff and all of our other customers can put the same principles in to practice at home. It’s easy to assume that the warm grease and fat left over from a meal could be poured down the sink, as long as it’s washed down with a lot of hot soapy water.

“But the reality is that quite quickly the fat and grease will cool and solidify, build up and potentially block a drain or sewer. It’s better to wipe out any greasy pans with a bit of kitchen
roll, and then put it in the bin.  Large amounts of left over cooking grease should be poured into a pot or jar with a lid, or one of the free fat traps that our customers can request."

If customers do run into problems, either with slow drains or a blocked sewer which is Severn Trent’s responsibility, it can be reported by calling 0800 783 4444.