Severn Trent provides advice on avoiding a festive fatberg

Thursday 16 December 2021

Severn Trent is offering advice this winter to ensure customers can enjoy their festivities without the drama of blocked pipes. 

The company said that in the last financial year it has cleared over 32,000 blockages, the majority of which were caused by the wrong things being flushed down the toilet or washed down the sink.

Severn Trent’s sewer blockages lead, Grant Mitchell, said: “Clogged drains and burst pipes should be the last thing customers need to worry about at this time of the year. We often mention ‘FOG’ to our customers – fats, oils and greases, but there are also many other unlikely suspects, such as gravy, sauces, soup and leftover food that can easily cause a problem in your household pipes.

“Once food waste reaches the pipes it hardens and can attach to other unflushable items, such as wet wipes and sanitary products, to create a blockage or even a fatberg, which is a horrible thing for anyone to experience, especially over the festive period. 

“Many customers may not realise that they are responsible for the waste pipe running away from their home up until it either crosses the property boundary or meets with another waste pipe or sewer. Unblocking or repairing this section of pipe can be costly, but completely avoidable if you’re careful about what you put down your toilet or your sink. We’re sure that nobody wants to be responsible for creating a fatberg, and by binning FOG and food waste, rather than blocking drains and sewers, customers can ensure they stay firmly on our nice list this Christmas!”

Grant’s top tips for avoiding a festive fatberg:

In the kitchen: 

• Instead of pouring used cooking oil, fat, grease, gravies, soups and sauces down the sink or outside drains, collect it in a container, jar or tin and put it in the bin once cool. 

• Wipe food waste before washing up - use kitchen roll or paper towels to soak up grease from plates and pans.  

• Use a sink strainer to catch food waste before it reaches the pipe. 

In the bathroom: 

• Only ever flush the 3 P’s (pee, poo and toilet paper) down the loo - wet wipes, sanitary products, tampons, paper towels and nappies don’t break down in the sewers and can cause blockages. 

• Other toiletries such as razors, cotton buds and dental floss cause blockages if they’re flushed down the loo as well. Bag them up and put them in the bathroom bin. 

More information on protecting your home this winter can be found here. If you do run into problems this winter, with either slow drains or a blocked sewer which is Severn Trent’s responsibility you can report it at or by calling 0800 783 4444.  Our teams both in the call centre and in the field work all day, every day, so even on Christmas Day we’ll be here to help out with any problems our customers might have.