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Restaurant fined for FOG in sewers

Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted a restaurant for blocking sewers with fat, oil and grease, in a case that was the first of its kind for the utility.

Café Saffron in Church Road, Codsall, was ordered to pay a total of £5,495, including costs, at Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court, for repeatedly blocking the sewers with cooking oil and fat from its kitchen. Blockages had been reported on several occasions after the fat coagulated in the sewer, causing neighbouring business to complain of being unable to flush their toilets.

Under section 111 of the Water Industry Act it is an offence to discharge anything into the sewer that may interfere with the free flow.

Severn Trent visited the premises on several occasions, sent letters and had many conversations with the restaurant owners, asking for grease traps to be installed and warning of the consequences, but the owners refused.

Emma FitzGerald, Managing Director of Wholesale Operations, commented: “The verdict in this case is an important milestone for us, and we really want this to make other companies think about what they are doing with regards to disposing of fats, oils and grease and how it impacts our customers. 

"We clear around 45,000 blockages a year and fat contributes to the majority of those, as it binds together all the other things that end up in the sewer rather than the bin and creates huge lumps which block the sewers.  This is totally avoidable and in this case, simply installing a small grease trap could have prevented the situation.  Legal action is a last resort for us, but our customers shouldn’t have to suffer because of the actions of one business not following the rules, and ignoring our advice.”

Following the conviction, the restaurant has now committed to installing a grease trap.

The case is believed to be only the second example of such a case being brought in the UK. A restaurant in East Grinstead, Sussex, was ordered to pay £2,285 in December 2015 after being taken to court by Southern Water for a blockage which caused flooding.

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Sewer Networks
Tags: Fats Oils and Grease , sewers

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