Severn Trent thanks food businesses for trapping over 2,500 tonnes of fat

Monday 21st December

The food and hospitality sector has been hit hard by COVID-19 in 2020. Yet despite this, commercial kitchens have continued to do their bit to protect the Severn Trent sewers. 

As a result of good kitchen practices and the installation of grease trapping equipment, over 2,500 tonnes of fat, oil, and grease (FOG) has been prevented from going down the drains over the past year. Severn Trent clears around 45,000 blockages across the region each year, the majority of which are caused by fats and food waste escaping down kitchen plugholes and drains, where it binds together with all the other things that end up in the sewer rather than the bin to create huge lumps, known as ‘fatbergs’, which block the sewers. These blockages can then lead to bad smells, blocked drains and sewage flooding. 

Severn Trent’s sewer blockages lead, Grant Mitchell, says: “We really feel for the food service establishments (FSEs) that have been affected by the pandemic and want to remind our customers that we are here to help. We work closely with FSEs across our region to help prevent sewer blockages and fatbergs from happening, by educating kitchen staff and encouraging them to install grease traps in kitchens where appropriate. 

“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.

“Due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown measures we’ve had to scale down some of our engagements with FSE’s. However, the food business owners we have been able to work with, have taken steps to improve their grease management practices. And for that, we want to say thank you, especially given the other priorities they’ve had this year.”

One such food business is Lovely Pubs who own seven pub restaurants in the Midlands. Severn Trent’s contract partners ECAS, visited The Farm in Solihull – and other FSEs in the area – following a blockage in the nearby Severn Trent wastewater network.

Environmental Inspector Marc Downes from ECAS, said: “The Farm pub and restaurant already had some grease management practices in place. But, their existing system meant FOG was still getting into the network. They were so keen to fix this, that in just eight working days, they’d got plans together to install a new grease removal unit which will now trap their fat at source.

“I was inspired by how seriously they took their responsibility to protect the sewers. On top of managing the fallout from COVID-19.”

Andrew Breen is a director at Lovely Pubs and has been working with Marc. They’re also working together to make sure the other six pubs have optimal grease management measures in place.

Andrew said: “We care deeply about how our seven establishments impact on our local community and the environment. That’s why we welcome advice and support on how we can continually improve.” 

FSEs can make sure their kitchen waste doesn’t interfere with the free flow of the sewers by fitting correctly-sized grease trapping equipment and adopting good kitchen habits, such as:

• Dry wiping pots and pans before they’re washed in sinks or dishwashers

• Using sink strainers to catch food debris before it goes down the plughole

• Fitting a food filter 

• Storing used cooking oil and grease trap contents properly, whilst waiting for a registered waste carrier to come and collect it, to be recycled.

For more information on how to avoid blockages in a commercial kitchen, go to