The impact of fat, oil and grease

The items that are flushed down sinks and toilets can block pipes and cause pollution. This page shows the impact on our network and our homes.

Fat facts

  • More than 3,000 homes are flooded in the UK each year because of fat, oil and grease blockages
  • £90 million is spent every year on clearing fat, oil and grease blockages across the country – money that could be passed to you in savings
  • As well as causing blockages leading to flooding, build-ups of fat, oil and grease can also put wastewater pumping stations out of action.

Environmental impact

These blockages – from fat, oil and grease or from unsuitable items being flushed away – can have a harmful effect on our environment.

This could be sewer flooding in your neighbourhood or pollution in local streams, like in the image above.

Washing machines, toilets and other items may be plumbed incorrectly in some homes, meaning dirty water and other waste is sent directly to streams and rivers instead of to treatment works to be cleaned. Find out more below.

Misconnected pipes
What to do if your drains are blocked

Reducing the risk of blockages in our sewers is a major part of our Business Plan for 2015–20. Read more about the plan below.

Business Plan 2015–20

Fat, oil and grease in our sewers

Our contractors regularly send cameras into our sewers to find the cause of fat blockages. The film below shows this in action in a sewer in Kent.