A WATER company is cracking down on fatty waste entering the area’s waterways.

United Utilities has urged cafes, takeaways and restaurants in Bowness and Windermere to put the area’s sewers on a health kick by starving them of fats, oils and grease.

The water company is contacting food outlets to provide recommendations, deliver training, offer advice on equipment, and provide guidance on how to dispose of fats, oils and grease correctly and remain compliant with waste disposal regulations.

The campaign comes after United Utilities dealt with six sewer blockages caused by the build-up of the fatty substances in Bowness and Windermere in the last 12 months alone.

According to the company, these incidents have the potential to cause spillages into waterways, including Windermere.

When fats, oils, and grease - known as FOG – escape down drains, they cool and solidify to cause blockages.

The Westmorland Gazette: BLOCKAGE: Fat removed from a drainBLOCKAGE: Fat removed from a drain

This leaves limited capacity for flows to pass through the drainage network.

United Utilities said this often results in flooding and a ‘smelly, messy and expensive clean-up job’ for both private businesses and the community.

Drainage Performance Manager, Nicholas Walls from United Utilities, said: “The incorrect disposal of fats, oils and grease down drains is a key cause of blockages.

“Once FOGs enter the drain, there is no way of controlling what will happen next – they could cool and solidify within the pipes in the premises, causing a nasty, expensive mess, or they can get as far as the sewers where they can affect the entire community.

“Even things like mayonnaise, dressings and sauces contain oil. It might not seem like much, but when you add up thousands of meals a day served by food outlets in popular tourist areas like Bowness and Windermere, it can cause major problems.

“We regularly see the fatty build-ups in the local pumping stations and there have also been blockages which have caused leaks in the highway, it is easy for this to then find its way into gullies and into waterways. We want to do all we can to prevent these kind of blockages from happening and raising awareness about how to properly dispose of food waste is part of that.”

The project is now underway and will see many establishments contacted and visited by ‘fat-busting’ expert Nick Inman.

“Many businesses don’t realise that having a proper system in place for disposing of kitchen waste is often a condition of building regulations and discharging material that can block sewers contravenes the 1991 Water Industry Act,” he said.

“We want to help them make sure they have got the correct equipment, such as fat traps, in place and that staff are properly trained when it comes to disposing of these nasties, for example wiping pots and pans before they are washed and scraping cooled fats into the bin.”